Home owners have been urged to test their security systems as a matter of urgency and to pay particular attention to the battery back-up systems during load shedding periods. "Many people are under the incorrect assumption that their home alarm system is deactivated when the power supply is interrupted. However, if you have a stable and correctly programmed system coupled with a battery that is in good condition, it will continue to protect the premises during a power outage – regardless if the outage is because of load shedding or not," said Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT. The only time it may not function correctly is if there is a technical issue, or the battery power is low. "Most modern alarm systems have a back-up battery pack that activates automatically when there is a power failure. There are a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure security is not compromised during any power cuts. "Some of these include ensuring that the alarm system has an adequate battery supply, that all automated gates and doors are secured and lastly to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to your security provider or the South African Police Service," said Hattingh.READ: Eskom, government plans for Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding to stave off national blackoutsWith the added inconvenience of the lights going out at night due to power cuts, candles and touch-lights are handy alternatives. Home owners are also advised that it is important that their alarm systems have adequate battery supply and that batteries should be checked regularly. Alarms should be checked during extended power outages to keep systems running. Power cuts can affect fire systems and fire control systems, so these also need to be checked regularly. The more frequent use of gas and candles can increase the risk of fire and home fire extinguishers should be on hand. People are urged to remain vigilant during power cuts and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and report this to their security company or the police immediately. READ: JMPD steps in to ease traffic chaos during load sheddingHattingh said home and business owners should consider installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, which is integrated into the alarm system’s wiring and automatically switches on for a maximum of 15 minutes when there is a power outage. "If there is an additional battery pack, the small, non-intrusive LED lights can stay on for the duration of the power outage – or a maximum of 40 hours – without draining the primary alarm battery. Because of load shedding, there might also be a higher than usual number of alarm activation signals received by security companies and their monitoring centres."This could lead to a delay in monitoring centre agents making contact with customers. You can assist by manually cancelling any potential false alarms caused by load shedding, and thus help call centre agents in prioritising the calls needing urgent attention," said Hattingh.