Whether you own a rural property and care for livestock, or you have commercial premises in need of protection, electric fencing is a beneficial security solution. We at Sovereign Fire and Security have put together this useful guide to electric fencing, from its uses and installation, to legislation and tips for use.

What is Electric Fencing?

Electric fencing and its form may vary according to its application. Traditionally electric fencing is associated with farming or livestock security; however, it is frequently used for perimeter security for commercial premises. Electric fencing acts as a deterrent to intruders but also acts a barrier to prevent escape, critical for livestock or prisons, for example.

Usually it is not the fencing itself that is ‘electric’, but instead wires on top of the existing fencing or wall. The wires are powered by an ‘energiser’ which sends voltage down the wires and creates pulses. Depending on application and placement, electric fencing may be powered by mains, battery, or solar.

When somebody or something touches a live wire, they complete the circuit to the earth and receive a shock. This relies on their feet being on the ground, however with added earth wires, a person will receive a shock regardless of whether they are touching earth. Shocks are usually safe but painful, acting as a powerful deterrent.

Uses of Electric Fencing

There are two main applications of electric fencing; farming and perimeter security.

When used for livestock, electric fencing usually has a relatively low voltage and only one or two wires to contain animals. As the setup is somewhat basic, electric fencing for farming is very scalable and can be adjusted to contain a range or animals from horses and cows to sheep and goats.

Electric security fencing is usually larger scale and used for the prevention of intrusions. The electricity adds another layer of security over existing perimeter security such as high walls or fencing. It is usually used to protect commercial premises with high value significant contents or that which presents a healthy and safety risk to the public.

Aside from shocking intruders, electric security fencing is also normally alarmed, so even if voltage is not running, security services are alerted to any tampering, loading or cutting of the fencing.

How to Install Electric Fencing

It is possible to set up domestic electric fencing for farming individually, however, to ensure safety and effectiveness, seek advice from professionals. Commercial electric security fencing should always be installed and maintained by security providers.

Sovereign Fire and Security are NSI accredited security system installers and offer monitored electric fencing services. Check out our range of services, including intruder systems.

Tips for Using Electric Fencing for Land Security

Regardless of the application, there are certain things to consider when getting electric fencing for land security.

Signage – Significant for compliance, signage is a legal must for electric fencing. Aside from preventing harm, bold signage may help further deter intruders from forcing entry as they will see you have high levels of security and protection.

Consider power Although power usage and associated costs depend on size and demand on electric fencing, it may be beneficial to not leave it always running.  Consider switching to solar power if possible, reducing amount of electric fencing or only running at certain times. Consult electric fencing specialists for expert advice on maximum effectiveness.

Combine other security measures – Include other security measures to enhance premises protection. CCTV and intruder alarms are common for commercial security systems.

Protect weak points – To maximise effectiveness, regularly check electric fencing for weak points or tampering. Ensure access points are not easily accessible and consider access controls or automated gates. Find out more about using automated gates for security.

Consider height – For livestock applications, ensure the live wires are at a suitable height for the animals being contained. A 2-metre fence is often the minimum height for security fencing but will be considerably taller with the addition of electric fencing.

Electric Fencing Legislation

Before installing electric fencing, be sure to check and understand the legal regulations concerning voltage, application and height. Planning permission may be needed prior to installation, for example. For certain commercial uses, insurance providers may mandate electric fencing, therefore requirements should be carefully followed.

Ensure electric fencing suppliers and installers are compliant and provide professional service with accreditations. Electric fencing installers should comply with BS 1722-12, BS EN 60355 and ICE 60335 standards. Similarly, those looking to bolster security with electric fencing should research and understand Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 and Occupier’s Liability Act 1957.

As aforementioned, signage is an important aspect in electric fencing compliance and should be present at the ends of electric fencing as well as every 10 metres between. This is mainly for the protection of the public, however it also alerts intruders to the presence of electric fencing.

Learn More with Sovereign Fire and Security

If you are looking for a comprehensive commercial security solution, or if you simply want to find out how to protect your rural property, contact Sovereign Fire and Security. With extensive experience in offering a range of security systems to a variety of sectors, Sovereign have the expertise to help you. Sovereign offer monitored electric fencing and other associated intruder systems to benefit domestic and commercial premises alike.

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