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How to protect your fleet when parked up

While COVID-19 restrictions around Australia are slowly starting to ease, you may still find your fleet is parked up due to these difficult circumstances, or your fleet could be parked up during the holiday season.  

Whatever the reason, we’ve put together quick steps for you to follow when parking up your trucks and trailers to help keep them safe and ensure they’re ready to go when you return to work.

With most transport yards and depots located away from residential areas, during holiday periods there is very little ‘passive security’ provided by neighbours and passers-by. As a result of this transport businesses should carefully consider their strategies to minimise the risk of theft or damage.

Malicious damage and vandalism are common while theft is also prevalent over holiday seasons, as opportunists and professional criminals alike take advantage of vacant sites, with unsecured transport yards an easy target.

Fortunately theft of trucks and trailers in Australia is less common than of cars or plant and equipment, however it still occurs and there are some smart steps you can take to reduce the risk of discovering an empty space in both your depot and in your balance sheet.

“Most of the incidents we see are not targeted, instead the vandals/thieves are seeing something in a depot where the ‘risk vs reward’ looks favourable,” says NTI’s Transport and Logistics Risk Engineer, Adam Gibson.

“As a result, the two key strategies are to reduce how much unwanted attention your site attracts and to shift the potential intruder’s assessment of how likely they are to be detected.

“The other key hazard to consider during these periods is fire, these fall into two general categories; fires originating from the vehicles themselves, generally the electrical system and malicious fires, most often lit by the opportunistic vandals,” adds Adam.

In addition to reducing the likelihood of having a fire, you can take a number of practical measures to reduce how severe and widespread a fire may be if one breaks out, regardless of the cause.

To reduce the risk of vandalism, fire, and theft while your trucks and trailers are parked up you should:

  1. Store equipment in a secure, fenced yard, where possible, if you have storage inside buildings (e.g. in the workshop) store any high-value or easily transported/resold items inside, with lower value or harder to transport/sell items outside.
  2. Make it harder to see into fenced yards through the use of fence wraps, as seen on many construction sites, these make it harder for an opportunist to see what equipment you have.
  3. Install sensor lights at points of entry to the site and to any buildings.
  4. Consider security cameras, systems have improved in quality and reduced in price in recent years. If they’re outside of the budget then consider installing dummy systems as a deterrent.  Most CCTV systems include the ability to view the footage from your mobile.
  5. Alarm systems can deter intruders at the moment that they’re entering your site or building and shorten the time they spend on your site.
  6. Ensure you’ve got an up-to-date inventory of what is stored at each site, including VINs of all vehicles and serial numbers of any equipment. As a good final step, you can walk around a photograph and/or video the site before closing up for a long period.
  7. Reinforce entry points to the site and into any buildings. Shrouds around locks, chains and hinges make it much harder for intruders to gain access and to remove anything once they’re inside. Consider additional security for any roller doors, they are a target for being levered or pried open.
  8. Consider after-hours security patrols.
  9. Reduce your holdings of spare parts and other easily moved components.
  10. Don’t fill trucks with fuel prior to storage, it increases the potential severity of any fire and that money is better off in your bank account.
  11. When parking up trucks/trailers, space them apart to reduce the risk of a fire in one truck spreading to its neighbour. If you can’t leave space between every truck, consider parking them in blocks of three or four trucks with a space between adjacent blocks to stop the spread of fire.
  12. Isolate batteries in all trucks and other powered equipment, disconnect at battery isolators if fitted. If not, disconnect the earth connections from all batteries.
  13. Secure any toolboxes or roll cabs, whether they’re in the workshop or fitted onto vehicles, consider chaining or locking them to an immovable object.
  14. Pay significant attention to how your store keys, most ‘lockable key boxes’ are weak and easily opened. Preferably store keys to high value equipment off-site.

Whether COVID-19 is the cause of your fleet being parked up or you’re simply taking a break over a holiday period, implementing these security tips will help deter any theft or malicious damage.

And if you do find yourself in some trouble and need to make a claim, simply contact our expert Claims Team on 1800 684 669, and one of our experienced Claims Consultants will assist you.