April saw a lot of media attention around fires with the devastating events at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The investigation will continue for a few months and the cause is not yet known, but it serves as a very stark reminder of how dangerous fire is and how fast it can spread. Our own local services were called to a fire at a property in Portchester on 20th April, when a neighbour heard a smoke alarm at 3am and dialled 999. A man was fortunately rescued after the kitchen fire triggered the life saving smoke alarm. Smoke is the biggest killer in residential fires because as a fire burns it consumes oxygen and releases carbon monoxide. It’s important, especially in buildings where there are a large number of dwellings, such as flats, HMOs and student halls, that industry standard fire doors, alarms and smoke detectors are properly installed and maintained. It’s not worth taking any short cuts where fire is concerned.

A story from Newcastle last month serves as a reminder to all building site managers how serious the risk of burglary is. A brave security guard managed to chase down and apprehend three thieves who were trying to steal equipment from the site, and at the same time he directed police to their whereabouts as they tried to escape. All the burglars were detained thanks to his heroic actions, but thefts from construction sites are all too common. Burglars target expensive tools and equipment left on-site, and often scope out their target beforehand. CCTV and up to date alarm systems can act as a deterrent so it’s obviously important to ensure you have high levels of security in place if you’re the manager of a construction site. This story really highlights the effectiveness of external alarm receiving centres in helping to catch criminals and ensure site safety.

CCTV once again played a huge part in helping police to catch, and successfully prosecute, a Havant man who had committed a string of 20 burglaries in the Portsmouth area. The criminal had targeted staff areas of shops, pubs and one residence, taking cash and purses. He was captured on CCTV during many of the incidents, and this helped to secure his conviction. CCTV in business premises can help staff to feel safer at work and allow for the speedy detection of problems after hours from an external alarm receiving centre.