Your No. 1 Storage Concern: Safety for Your Stuff – and Yourself

By Staff

When you're looking for storage facilities, you want a place where your stuff will be safe -- and a place you'll feel safe visiting. We take a look at the security features a storage facility should have, and give you a list of things you should look for inside and outside the facility itself.


You may feel satisfied with just an alarm system, or you might want 24-hour on-site security. You need to decide which you feel most comfortable with.

Fences: Brick walls are better than metal picket fences as they prevent prying eyes from seeing into the facility.

Motion sensors give added protection both indoors and out. They can be connected to light fittings or alarms or both. When motion is detected the light will come on automatically and alarms sound. The alarm system can also be connected to police, who will then be alerted.

Alarms are a key crime deterrent. The alarm may simply sound when there is a break-in at the facility or they can also be connected to the local police station. Fire alarms are also a very desirable security measure to prevent your goods being destroyed or damaged by fire station. Ask ask ask.

Your storage might be protected by keypad access. You will be required to use a code to get access to your stored possessions, including access to hallways and elevators. As an extra level of security, your elevator access in a multistory building may be limited to the floor where your items are stored.

Lighting – Good lighting is a good deterrent to intruders. The lighting can be permanent or triggered by movement.

Locks – You will probably be required to provide your own lock lock. This gives you control over who can access your unit, but you might still want to give the warehouse operator a key for use in case of emergency. If you intend to give other people access to the unit from time to time, contact the warehouse manager. Often storage facilities will require a list of such persons, and may give them access when requested, or they may contact you before allowing them access.

Guards – Some facilities provide twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, on site security. Other facilities may employ a resident manager who doubles as a guard during off hours.

Close Circuit Television (CCTV) – This is a very efficient way to monitor comings and goings in the storage facility.

Intercom – This is just another security measure that could be used to summon help in emergencies or inform people that they're in restricted areas that they need to vacate.

Outside the Facility

* Are the grounds well maintained? It's a good indication that management cares about your stuff inside.

* Check for overgrown vegetation: Vermin hide in vegetation and they can burrow their way into a building. Check whether there are bait boxes for pests.

* Note the condition of the parking areas. Shady characters hanging around, dimly-lit entrances? Not good signs. Think about the security of your things as well as your comfort level when you visit.

Inside the Facility

Notice if the inside is well lit and maintained. These places can be pretty desolate, so you need to feel comfortable when accessing your facility.

* Check for smoke alarms -- can you see fire extinguishers and ceiling sprinklers?

* Find out the smoking policy. Some facilities permit smoking in office areas, others forbid smoking throughout the facility. If you hope to squeeze into your wedding tux again someday, you don’t want it reeking like smoke.

* Does the staff come off as well-mannered and presentable? They’ll be responsible for security, so it’s like they’re watching your stuff.