Physical security


Individual alarm options

Individual alarms can protect people and vehicles from harm.

In some situations, building alarm systems or other facility-wide measures might not give all the protection your people and assets need. For example, when you need to protect:

  • people working away from the office
  • areas with a high potential for personal violence
  • valuable physical assets in public areas
  • valuable assets stored in vehicles used for work purposes.

Several individual alarm options are available to supplement your security measures, including:

  • duress alarms (fixed, hidden, and mobile options)
  • individual item alarms or alarm circuits
  • vehicle alarms.

Duress alarms

Duress alarms enable your people to call for help in response to a threatening incident.

To get fewer false alarms, choose duress alarms that are activated by dual-action buttons (users need to press two separate buttons to trigger the alarm).

Fixed and hidden duress alarms

Fixed duress alarms are individual alarms that are monitored remotely. They’re normally hardwired and fixed to a location.

Consider equipping your public contact areas with duress alarms if your organisation’s risk assessment has identified a potential problem. Public contact areas include reception areas, counters, and interview rooms.

Hidden duress alarms should:

  • enable your people to raise an alarm discreetly
  • be augmented by procedures that provide an appropriate response.

Meeting the Standard when you install fixed or hidden duress alarms

AS/NZS 2201.1:2007 Intruder alarm systems - Client's premises - Design, installation, commissioning and maintenance is the standard you must comply with when you configure duress alarms as part of an intruder alarm system. The same standard governs where the alarm panel is located within the protection zones of the alarm system.

Training your people

You need to ensure that your people are aware of any duress alarms, have regular training, and participate in trials so they know what to do in a real situation.

Mobile or individual duress alarms

Mobile or individual duress alarms help to deter violence towards your people. They’re suitable for times when your people are outside the office or circulating in public areas.

Personal duress alarms fall into two broad categories:

  • alarms that monitored remotely
  • alarms that produce loud noise when activated. 

Alarms that are monitored remotely

These alarms are suitable for use within facilities where there is a dedicated monitoring and response force. The alarms consist of a personal alarm transmitter linked to the facility or a separate alarm system.

Noise-producing alarms

These alarms rely on the response of bystanders. They are more suitable than monitored duress alarms when there could be considerable delay in response to the alarm.

You can use noise-producing alarms within your facility when you need people in the immediate area to notice an incident as soon as it happens.

Individual item alarms and alarm circuits

When you can’t easily protect valuable items using normal alarm systems (particularly when they’re are in public areas, such as exhibitions) two options to consider are:

  • installing a separate alarm system to monitor individual items
  • installing an individual item alarm circuit.

 Some alarm sensor types that may be suitable are:

  • pressure switches
  • motion sensors
  • closed-circuit television (CCTV) activated alarms
  • radio frequency identification (RFID) tag systems.

Seek specialist advice when you’re designing alarm systems for individual items.

Vehicle alarms

Consider installing vehicle alarms if your people need to work from vehicles and those vehicles contain large quantities of valuable equipment.

Noise-producing alarms

Most vehicle alarms rely on noise to deter intruders. However, if the vehicle driver is outside hearing range, these kinds or alarms rely on a response from bystanders.

Remote alarms

When the Business Impact Level of the information or assets in the vehicle, or the vehicle itself, is high or above, consider fitting vehicle alarms that are monitored remotely.

Remote vehicle alarms can also be linked to remote vehicle tracking and immobilisation systems.

Page last modified: 2/10/2018