You can't put too high a price on security when you're looking at self-storage. After all, we take the time to make sure that our home is adequately secure to protect belongings and it's no different in self-storage.
All self-storage facilities will have a range of security measures in place. These can range from the basic to the hi-tech and your self-storage choice may well hinge on how comfortable you feel with the options on offer. You may also make a decision based on the value of the goods you store. If you're storing valuable and irreplaceable heirlooms then you'll probably opt for state of the art systems. If your storage items are easily replaced and of no real sentimental or monetary value then you may make a more basic choice.
Your first move should be to visit a few self-storage sites and see for yourself
just how secure they seem. Seeing a self-storage facility with gaping holes
in perimeter fences, dark corridors with insufficient CCTV coverage and no
guard on site at night might just put you off. Although you are responsible
for padlocking your own unit, the strongest padlock is no defence against a
determined thief. However a formidable looking padlock could cause a potential thief to move on to the next unit! (See this recent advice on locks in the News Section).
Self-storage security measures vary extensively throughout the industry. You should always opt for a self-storage facility that has at least some measures in place - you'll find some or all of the following security options on offer depending on the self-storage company you choose:
- General alarm systems that can be either monitored or unmonitored on site by security guards and may have links to the local police station. In some cases, each unit may have an individual alarm that is linked to a central site control. Other options include alarms that go off if units are left open for an exceptionally long time and infra-red motion detectors.
- Fire and smoke alarm systems that can help contain unforeseen accidents. Virtually all self-storage facilities ban smoking on site as a fire hazard.
- Restricted access systems that insist that all visitors sign in and out before they can access the facility. Visitors who are not currently customers may not be able to enter unless they are accompanied by a member of staff.
- Key-code or swipe card access for your unit and/or facility entrances in general that gives added access security. Some companies will allow you to choose your own unit key-code number for additional security.
- Intercom systems that prevent just anyone walking into the facility or into specific unit areas.
- CCTV surveillance cameras that are usually monitored 24 hours a day.
- Residential managers that actually live on the property. In many cases you'll find that self-storage companies offer guards 24 hours a day, although some companies opt for less coverage. In this instance the company may contract private security firms to do spot checks and offer security services out of hours.
- Well-placed industrial level security lighting that acts as an added deterrent. This can be motion sensitive or permanent and should be found both internally and externally.
- Perimeter fencing that can be electric or standard. Many self-storage units are now deploying concrete walls instead of standard fencing for added security and to prevent potential thieves being able to see inside.
- Reinforced units that give added security against break-ins.
- Specialist padlocks that recess into the door and are extremely difficult to pick.
- Sole key holder policies that ensure that you are the only person with a key to your unit.
- Patrols round units that check that doors are secure on a regular basis.