Is your security guard allowed to jump over your wall?
Did you know that the height of your perimeter walls could prove the difference between your security provider being able to access your home during a break-in and containing the situation, or being left outside and unable to assist you. This is because high walls could pose a potential risk to security guards who may not be allowed to jump over the barriers.
This is according to Dawie Loots, acting CEO of MUA Insurance Acceptances, who urges homeowners to know exactly what their security contract stipulates as a standard operating procedure and how they can make alternative arrangements to be prepared in the event of a robbery.
“Some security companies have policies in place that stipulate that their guards are not allowed to jump over walls higher than 2m as this could put their security guards at risk of serious injury,” says Loots, noting that while updating these kinds of restrictions to reflect today’s reality is a valid point, the benefit of lower walls is that homeowners can see out to the street and be better aware of their surroundings. “These procedures are in place to safeguard the security guards from getting injured and to protect the owners of the security company against claims under the occupational health and safety legislation should injuries occur to their employees.”
Loots adds that homeowner’s insurance policies should cover owners in the case of security personnel injuring themselves on their properties, but that security companies would more likely claim injury to staff from the Compensation Fund.
Homeowners will be highly disappointed if their security company was not able to reach the house in order to avoid or mitigate the damage, whether physical or psychological, caused in the event of a robbery or house-break, says Loots, stressing that providing alternative means of access to the property would benefit homeowners – especially if the guards cannot jump over high walls or fences in an emergency.
“This could include providing the security company access to the property by opening electric gates remotely via a cellphone, or installing key-pad access systems at secret back gates and only provide the password to the security company,” says Loots, noting that having these kinds of professionally installed and maintained access control measures in place, can be seen in a positive light by insurers. “There is a duty of due care on the client to ensure they have made sufficient security provision, and this includes having a functioning alarm system.
“Generally insurance contracts stipulate that homeowners should have an alarm system that is linked to their armed response that was in proper working order at the time of a burglary. Should a robbery occur and security guards were not allowed to jump over the residency walls, but all the requirements as stipulated in the homeowners’ insurance policy were met, the insurance provider will pay out for the stolen goods.”
Loots also urges all homeowners to adhere to the regulations relating to electronic fencing to avoid being held liable when a security guard or a third party gets injured due to faulty or non-compliant fences. “Some of the requirements include showing visible warning signs that can be seen from the pavement and driveway in order to caution any person entering the property,” he says. “Fences may also not hang over into neighbouring properties and walls are also required to be at a set minimum height – usually between 1,5m and 1,8m high as measured from the street.”
It is, therefore, paramount that homeowners know if their walls exceed the height limit as indicated by their security provider or armed response. “Not all security response companies have the same standard operational procedures and therefore it is important that homeowners know what the alternative options are, as it is not ideal to pay for a service and when the service is actually required, the company cannot render it,” says Loots.