3 min read

The Reasons Why Surge Protection Is an Essential Component of Security and Life Safety Systems

December 21, 2020

Organizations today invest significant resources in life safety and security systems. As a stakeholder in your organization, you understand the financial commitment made in deploying commercial fire alarm, video surveillance, and access control solutions. Thousands of dollars have been spent to safeguard employees and customers, protect property, and secure valuable assets. 

Deploying, managing, and maintaining the systems you depend on to protect your organization is no small task. If you're like many organizations, you may not have considered what's required to protect the systems that are protecting your organization. 

Power surges pose a particular threat to security and life safety systems. Due to the interconnected nature of these systems, the various components of a security or life safety deployment are often exposed to potentially catastrophic chain reactions.

What Is a Power Surge?

As you may be aware, a power surge is an unexpected surge in the flow of electricity across an electrical connection or grid. Many of us have surge protecting power strips in our homes and offices, protecting expensive electrically powered belongings from electrical surges. 

While most of attribute potential power surges to external events (such as lightening strikes), the actual causes, and frequency of power surges may surprise you.

According to The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), less 2% of power surges are caused by lightening strikes. According to the ESFI, a shocking 60-80% of power surges are the result of electrical events that occur inside your facility. The potential causes of these internal events include:

  • Inductive load switching by HVAC systems
  • Large network appliances cycling power (Ex: servers and network switches)
  • Equipment failure or malfunction

These internal events present unique challenges to organizations according ESFI's research. First, these events occur on average with surprising frequency. In fact. the average facility experiences 150 surge related events each month! Secondly, the average cost of recovery from a catastrophic event associated with a power surge incident is over $130,000.

Third, and perhaps most notably, is the particular risk these events pose IT, security, and life safety systems. While many organizations dutifully utilize surge protection and regulation at the points where these systems access external power, the potential for damage caused by an internal event is often disregarded. Should an internal event occur, the potential for damage is amplified in systems connected through structured data cabling.

To mitigate the risk of catastrophic system loss, the use of additional safety measures is crucial.

The Importance of Surge Protection

According to best practices published by DITEK Surge Protection, there are a number practical things you can do to protect your mission critical IT, security, and life safety systems from a catastrophic power surge.

As the lowest common denominator, every device receiving power throughout your IT, security, and life safety deployments needs to have managed surge protection that the point that they receive power. Additionally, it's advised that surge protection be utilized at the point or points where your facility connects to the power grid.

In addition to the basic components of surge protection, manufacturers like DITEK design solutions for components that are connected by standard network cabling, structured wiring, coax cable, and even HDMI cables. 

To ensure that your equipment is completely protected, it's a great idea to utilize solutions like these on both ends of cable run or connection. 

By taking these extra precautions, you'll better protect the centrailized controlling components of your solutions, as well as the field devices they connect to - like security cameras and card readers.

Surge Protection Means Security

At DSC, we can help you deploy surge protection solutions designed to safeguard the integrity of IT, security, and life safety systems. DSC proudly offers solutions from companies like DITEK, for deployment with solutions that include:

  • Video Surveillance Systems
  • Access Control Systems
  • Alarm Systems
  • Fire Alarm Systems
  • Bi-Directional Amplifier Systems
  • Intercom/Paging Systems

To speak with a DSC life safety and security professional about your surge protection needs, contact us today.

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Written by DSC