We incorporate security into all kinds of things that take place in our daily lives. We set up a home security system to keep our families safe. We use security and backups on our computer to make our most sensitive data more protected. We even buy insurance policies to ensure everything in our daily lives is safe from harm, from our homes, to our cars, and even to our very lives.
But what about the HVAC system in the property you manage?
HVAC systems are designed to spread air throughout the building. Yet just as easily it can spread other, more dangerous contaminants as well. Whether accidental or intentional, your HVAC system could be putting your building at risk; unless you take adequate precautionary measures.
HVAC security risks can include a variety of things: fires, natural disasters, chemical spills, bacteria, viruses, mold, VOC fumes, smoke, asbestos and carbon dioxide. And they can spread through your building in a variety of ways: production activities within an office, sick office workers, chemical spills inside or outside of the building, water damage from a flood, even normal day to day activities can add in to the problem.
While its impossible to eliminate the chance of a problem from ever occurring within your building, it is important in having detection measures in place so you can eliminate the problem as quickly as possible.
Every HVAC security plan should start by having a design document that outlines how the system works, where every piece of equipment is placed, and what safety or alarm features exist. It should outline how the system functions, what equipment is in use, and where key entry points lie.
With a thorough planning document in place, the next step is to evaluate the system and find the greatest areas of vulnerability. Risk assessments should include determining where a potential contamination can easily take place, and what actions would be required to remedy the situation.
In many commercial environments, HVAC equipment is located on the outside of the building. Who has access to the equipment? Is it on ground level, easily accessible to anyone who may walk by? Or is it on the roof, protected and available to only those who have access to the building? Access doors should be secured. You can also build in additional security measures, such as monitors and alarms that will alert key personnel if and when the security is breached.
You should also build in security measures for accidents that may occur relevant to what is housed within the building itself. If the building is leased by a painting company, for instance, it will be at more risk for chemical spills and VOC hazards. Proper security should be added for both protection and detection.
Never forget that even minor, routine maintenance items can sometimes be your biggest defense. If your security plan calls for regular scheduled maintenance from a professional HVAC contractor, you will know that air filters are cleaned and replaced regularly, all filters are properly installed, equipment is running in its proper manner, gas detectors are properly calibrated, and screens and grates are cleaned and kept free of debris. Just these few routine tasks can alert you to problems that can quickly escalate and grow in a short period of time.
So what’s your plan? If this is the first time you’ve contemplated what your plan should be, there’s no better time than now to fix it. Let’s talk. With one of our professional HVAC contractors, we can help you design the perfect HVAC security plan for your building, giving you both security and peace of mind in the years to come.
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