Natural disasters and inclement weather can destroy your entire security system if you aren’t properly prepared. Cameras themselves are vulnerable to lightning damage, as the camera body, metal casing and attached electronics are made from conductive materials. Wind and precipitation present other potential threats if the camera is not waterproof. It is also vulnerable to being hit by flying objects, downed trees, or extreme temperatures. Here are some tips for protecting your security devices during these unpredictable and sometimes unavoidable weather events.
Tip One: Remove potentially hazardous tree branches and anything else that could fall on equipment
Though it seems to be an unrelated topic, tree maintenance is an important part of the overall protection of your surveillance system. High winds, heavy snowfalls and other inclement weather can cause trees or branches to fall and knock into your outdoor devices, posing a threat to the operation of the system. There is also the possibility that unhealthy or weakened trees can fall more easily and hit power lines, resulting in surges, explosions or complete loss of power.
Tip Two: Avoid mounting exterior cameras to metal
Metal is highly conductive, which presents a huge threat to your outdoor security systems if your area is prone to lightning storms. To avoid this potential threat, it’s best to avoid mounting cameras to metal surfaces if possible. If mounting to a metal surface is your only option, proper grounding is crucial to protecting your system from a power surge. If your camera is mounted to the tallest structure, installing lightning rods near your cameras can help divert energy from a strike to the rod instead of your cameras.
Tip Three: Ensure your surveillance camera has the minimum IP ratings to withstand local climate conditions
Ingress Protection (IP) ratings specify the level of environmental protection the camera enclosure provides and is denoted as a two-number rating. The first number in the rating measures the level of protection from solid objects, such as branches, wires, dust and more. The second number in the rating measures the level of protection from liquids such as rain and snow. The higher the numbers, the more protected your system is against the elements. A common IP number for outdoor security systems is IP 66, which means your system is has the highest solid object protection and is essentially waterproof during rain and snow storms.
Tip Four: Lightning surge protectors
The best way to protect your security devices from nearby lightning strikes is with the installation of lightning surge protectors. A direct lightning strike will destroy electronic equipment, but damage from nearby strikes can be minimized with the use of these devices. Lightning surge devices absorb energy spikes and redirect them to your grounding system to reduce potential lightning damage. These devices do not prevent lightning from striking your devices, but they do help mitigate damage related to lightning.
Tip Five: Ensure proper grounding
Proper grounding is crucial to protecting security equipment, as grounding redirects electrical currents to the ground instead of towards your equipment. Grounding equipment needs to provide a direct path for electrical current to redirect to the earth, as lightning takes the path of least resistance to the ground. If your camera is mounted to a metal structure, it should be grounded to the building’s structural steel. If your camera is mounted to a metal pole, it should not only be grounded to the metal pole but the pole itself should also be connected to a separate grounding system at the base of the pole.
For more information about protecting your security devices, please contact our support team.