At schools across the country, the summer months are often the time when upgrades, maintenance and new installation projects are carried out. Over these few months, schools are adding to or upgrading their video surveillance and security systems, improving network infrastructure, and even adding to the number of outdoor light poles, among other security improvement projects.
Too often though these projects ignore one of the most common yet critcal solutions for maintaining a safe and secure campus environment – surge protection devices. Outdoor mounted video surveillance cameras for instance are vulnerable to lightning damage because the camera body, metal casing, and attached electronics are made from conductive materials. Surge protectors prevent power surges from damaging equipment by diverting excess voltage to ground and away from the equipment. These devices do not prevent lightning from striking a device, but they do help mitigate damage related to lightning.
Take for example what happened at a major university in the Southeast.
Lightning hit and destroyed a dormitory’s newly installed but unprotected parapet-mounted camera. The lightning surge then traveled to the unprotected network server, destroying both the server and the switch. The surge kept going, eventually destroying network cards in students’ laptops at the very end of the cable runs. In a blink of an eye, the building’s IT backbone, including video surveillance systems, went down. Equipment losses from this single event exceeded $100,000.
Surge protection needs to be an integral element of the school’s life safety or security system and can be added easily and cost-effectively to almost any electronic system or wired network – at any time of the year.