There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the challenges of securing a laydown yard. While using fencing and traditional locks are a great start, no amount of “low-tech” measures can replace the value of security cameras, wireless access control and other applied technologies.
The problem for utilities in setting up high-tech security measures at laydown yards is an ironic one: a lack of power. Often in remote, rural areas, laydown yards offer plenty of space but not a lot of options when it comes to running security solutions.
“You’re left with a large amount of equipment with limited connectivity to secure it,” says Grant Hawkins, vice president, city-wide surveillance and critical infrastructure at Anixter. “At the same time, these laydown yards are mostly temporary so securing them needs to be affordable, adaptable and transportable.”
Advances in applied technology are helping to make it possible. Anixter’s Director of Technology, Bob Dolan, explains that solar, wind and other power sources are helping provide security at laydown yards with solutions such as:
- Security camera kits, including rapid deployment units (RDUs) that can be attached to light poles and can tap into power from the infrastructure. In certain parts of the country with abundant sunshine, they can be solar powered. Cellular cards can be used as well.
- Electronic padlocks with smart credentials. In addition to powering the lock, smart credentials capture all access records to track where the person has been. The padlock records all access events as well so you can track who accessed the gate. Smart credentials can also be programmed to self-expire in order to minimize unauthorized use if they are lost or stolen.
- RFID or asset tags, which can be placed on certain assets to track them if they become lost or stolen. As the article “Keeping Tabs on Security Assets” (page 26) points out, this technology can be integrated with Google Maps and even accessed through phone apps.
- Mobile security units that provide robust security with transportability. These units can include any combination of cameras, motion detection and other applied technologies. Trailers or other enclosures allow video and analytics to be stored on site.
Dolan offers two additional tips to help keep security solutions— and their power supplies— running strong.
“First, be sure your technology is appropriate for your climate,” he cautions. “In order to meet Ingress Protection (IP) requirements against environmental conditions, you need to be sure the technology you use is robust enough to withstand all harsh conditions it may face.”
“Second,” says Dolan, “To make the most of these applied technologies, it’s important to set up analytics or event-based monitoring.”
“You can’t simply secure a camera to a post and go about your business,” he adds. “Setting up the types of trigger alerts that will save you time and money takes expertise and planning.”