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Frequently asked questions!

Good security is vital! You’ll probably have many questions when it comes to making a perimeter fencing security decision. There are many aspects to electric fencing and our dedicated team have all the answers. Some common questions are listed below, however, if you still have queries please give us a call.

Q: Is the system legal?
A: Yes the system is legal because the system design, components and installation comply with the equirements of AS3129 & AS3016. In addition because the system is only available from Accredited Dealers, who exercise “Duty of care” when considering the design, installation and maintenance of Power Fence systems, in accordance with Gallaghers Code of Practice and Minimum Quality Standards.
Q: What maintenance is required?
A: Gallaghers recommend three routine maintenance inspections per year to ensure optimum system performance and reliability.
Q: Is the system prone to false alarm due to changes in the weather, heavy rain, fog, snow, high winds, falling leaves, wet paper bags, wild animals etc?
A: No, unlike other perimeter systems the Power Fence technology and signal processing ignores these forms of interference.
Q: What happens if the mains fails?
A: All Power Fence systems have standby power supplies. In the event of mains failure rechargeable batteries power the system for a minimum of 4 hours. If a longer period is required the size of the standby power supplies can be increased.
Q: Is the Power Fence system compatible with other security systems and equipment?
A: Yes the Power Fence in it’s standard form can be installed as a Stand alone system or directly interfaced with any other type of intruder alarm. access control or integrated security system. The, is for all functions including arming, disarming, alarm monitoring and signallg.
Q: Can gates be protected?
A: Yes, all forms of security opening, sliding and power gates can be fully protected with the Power Fence system.
Q: Do insurers accept or specify the Power Fence system?
A: Yes, most major insurance companies accept the installation of the Power Fence system and some are now specifying Power Fence for the protection of appropriate sites. As a direct result of Power Fence stopping crime and losses on various sites, some site owners have been able to obtain insurance on previously uninsurable or uneconomic risks.
Q: What is the danger in electricity for people and animals?
A: When electric current flows through an animal or a person it can cause the nervous system to react in pain, or by involuntary muscle contraction. These effects are temporary while other effects such as burns (at the points of contact and internal) and ventricular fibrillation can be life threatening. Ventricular fibrillation is the effect that occurs at the lowest level of current, this is where the heart becomes irreversibly unco-ordinated and fails to pump blood, resulting in a fatality. The improper use of domestic electricity supplies and associated electrical appliances cause 1000’s of deaths through this effect around the world each year.
Q: So are electric fence energizers safe?
A: Safety cannot be characterised in absolute terms, any product incorrectly used or applied can be hazardous. However, based on the safety records energisers are safer than almost any other manmade product in the marketplace.
Q: Why are energisers that safe?
A: The standards which can control the design, construction and manufacture of energisers have been developed over a number of years. The electrical output is controlled and the limits, from the electric shock standpoint, are very, very conservative, regardless of age, sex, weight, height or state of health. It should be noted that with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) some account is made for body weight, however the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) does not support this position.
Q: Who are the people who develop safety standards?
A: In most instances the development committees are drawn from interested expert parties, manufacturers, legislators, civil experts in safety and technical specialists. In the USA this is UL, in Europe it is a member state organisation called CENELEC who after due consideration adopt the IEC standards with minor modifications. Many other countries around the word now adopt, sometimes with minor local modifications, IEC standards.
Q: What standards apply to electric fence energizers products?
A: This depends on the part of the world is question. In Europe the appropriate standard is EN61011, in the USA it is UL69 applies. On an historical basis the way in which the electrical output has been stated has been different in Europe and the USA. More recently the two standards authorities have moved together and a comparison of the two limits can be seen on the graph. These limits represent a very conservative output restrictions.
Q: Why were the electrical limits set as indicated?
A: These limits have caused considerable debate in the expert international community. The original limits were set more than thirty years ago. These limits have been subject to modification and improvement as the available body of knowledge has improved. The electrical output limits of impulse type energizers can now be related to the hazard associated with, say, the domestic 50 or 60 cycle power supply. In Europe, for example, the limit (C2 5% probability of ventricular fibrillation) for energizers has an equivalent hazard as that associated with the leakage current at 50 cycle to trip an earth leakage circuit breaker. Energiser normal and abnormal operation electrical limits are designed to take into account the normal population including ill health, age. It can be shown analytically, by the study of the electric current flows, that these limits ensure that electric fence energizers add very little extra hazard to the environment.
Q: Why is there so little hazard when the 5% probability of ventricular fibrillation (the C2 line) is used as the safety limit?
A: The 5% probability exists if and only if the current of that magnitude flows during the T’ segment of the cardiac cycle. Many other independent factors effect the current flow, – contact resistance on the fence, earth/ground contact resistance, series resistance on the fence, current path or paths through the body, output of the energiser at that load, and the body impedance of the person in contact with the fence – when these factors are taken into account the likelihood of a hazardous event are vanishing small. The real world safety record of impulse type electric fencing shows this to be the case.
Q: Do all the national and international standards have the same electrical output limits?
A: No, differences have occurred for mainly historical reasons around the world. There is however a strong trend towards unification, the process should be completed over the next five to ten years Until this happens manufacturers will continue to design specific units for specific markets.
Q: Are the nominal electrical limits the only important aspect of energiser output?
A: No, what happens to the output when an electronic component fails or how good is the electrical isolation of the fence terminals from the 50 or 60 cycle mains are vital safety issues. These requirements are checked by constructional and design requirements written into all international standards around me world.
Q: What is the Gallagher position on the standards issue?
A: Gallagher energisers are designed to comply with all international standards in terms of output and constructional requirements. Gallagher takes a lead role in the development and improvement of all standards.
Q: How does the manufacturer of electric fence energizers discharge the appropriate duty of care.
A: By the application of demanding safety standards with respect to the design and manufacture of the energiser and the associated instructions on fence design and application.
Q: Are warning signs used?
A: Warning signs are available and should be installed by end users. This is noted in our installation instructions.
Q: What happens if someone touches an electric fence?
A: It is difficult to find a recorded incident in which it can be shown beyond reasonable doubt that a correctly designed and operated impulse electric fence energiser has caused a fatality. Invariably when an incident occurs many other factors are involved. Secondary effects from a fence contact, someone falling, jerking back and hitting someone else, are likely worst case incidents associated with such a fence contact. It should be remembered that barbed or razor wire is significantly more hazardous due to the permanent physical damage possible with these products.
Q: What happens if children touch electric fences?
A: Children can and do touch electric fences, they learn not to very quickly. It is a non-fatal learning experience.
Q: Will electric fences interfere with a heart pacemaker?
A: This question is better specifically answered by the pacemaker manufacturer. But if the energiser is a threat at all, it is generally agreed that ventricular fibrillation will be the first fatal physiological reaction caused by the passage of electric current through the heart. As the primary function of the pacemaker is to keep the heart beating on a regular basis (that is prevent ventricular fibrillation) then the pacemaker could offer some additional protection. In fact a pacemaker operates with similar circuitry to a battery energiser, it is unlikely that the passage of impulse energiser current through the body and hence through the pacemaker would do any damage at all to a pacemaker.
Q: Has the general public, say recreational walkers, ever complained about electric fencing?
A: Yes, electric fences in common with many other “things” in the encountered in environment, manmade and natural, can result in complaints. The pain associated with an electric fence impulse current flowing through the large muscle groups, in the legs and back, has been characterised in legal opinion (under English Law) as “transient and trifling”. A properly signed electric fence is plainly what it is, an insubstantial physical but an effective psychological barrier, painful to the touch, and on experience best not repeated! As a result even without warning signs a electric fence would be so insubstantial as to clearly not offer an effective physical barrier and as such suggests that it would be reasonable to adopt avoidance behaviour. In any event, a walk in the countryside has many more hazardous, and/or painful possibilities, to list a few:

  • Bee or wasp stings.
  • Insect bites.
  • Encounters with barbed wire.
  • Encounters with large animals.
  • The motor car trip to and from the starting point.

Electric fences do not increase the total hazard in the environment in any meaningful or measurable way.

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