As a story on the front page of Radio World's Nov. 17 issue reminds us, broadcast transmitter sites can be dangerous places. The hazards of equipment, electricity and RF are familiar. But what about vandals, thieves or worse?
Many consulting engineers have a set of "do's and don'ts" when it comes to unattended transmitter/tower site security. These are highlights from the list of Bob Clinton, senior engineer at Cavell, Mertz & Davis Inc., a broadcast and communications consulting engineering firm in Manassas, Va.
- DO lock perimeter fence/gate.
- DON'T simply use some off-the-shelf alarm system because they can be defeated fairly easily and quickly. Use a commercial alarm system connected to a monitoring service.
- DO lock building/tower gate as well as fences around guy anchors.
- DO have fire detection and prevention. Integrate with remote control.
- DON'T use booby traps. Serious liability issues arise if someone is injured or trapped, even if it "gets" a perpetrator.
- DO consider using two sets of keys for a site: a master key for everything and a submaster or separate set for contractors such as mowers and landscapers.
- DO fence in generator and fuel tank.
- DON'T alienate close residential neighbors (give them T-shirts, and maybe even an occasional concert or game ticket). Good neighbors can be your best allies when it comes to unwanted activity at your site.
- DO check with local law enforcement to see if you can get a regular courtesy security visit to assist your security planning.
- DON'T be in the dark. Keep it bright - most intruders will avoid places that have a well-lit exterior.
- DO put iron bars over any windows (HVAC vents/louvers). However, be aware of potential zoning and fire code issues if blocking a fire exit.
- Radio World