How to

2 August 2017

How to Keep Your Cold Store Secure: Pharmaceuticals


Security is essential for any establishment, especially when it’s used for the storage of time and temperature sensitive pharmaceutical products (TTSPP). These cold stores need to ensure that the expensive stock they house is protected at all costs, from the outside all the way through to the central freezers. If you’re looking to make your own facility more secure, here’s what you need to consider.

Exterior Security

Either a fence or wall should be secured around the perimeter of the facility to reduce other people’s access to the building and protect against the possibility of vandalism or theft. A gatehouse at the entrance to this perimeter makes it easier to monitor who comes in and out, with the fixture of CCTV devices around the outside of the building providing an extra level of security.

Building Security

Access for intruders is easiest on the ground floor where windows and doors are within reach, therefore these entrances need to be fitted with high quality locks. Shutters or security bars are ideal fixtures for windows, and all available entrances should be connected to an automatic intruder alarm.

For doors that are accessed using keys, make sure that the locks used are ones that make key copying difficult. However, where possible try to utilise fobs and/or number code entry systems as an alternative, because they allow for stronger security. Door codes can be regularly changed to prevent intruders from learning them, and lost fobs can easily be deleted from the system.

Interior Security

It is essential that the interior where the TTSPPs are stored is the most secure part of the facility. Not only could these products be potentially hazardous, but the cost of losing them could be well into the millions.

Only authorised staff should have access to this part of the building, and a range of alarm systems should be in place that are suited to the type of product being stored in the area. This includes fire detectors and systems that identify chemical hazards. If the TTSPPs are explosive then, naturally, the area should be explosion-proof.

As with anywhere else in the facility, CCTV devices should be in place to ensure the products are safe.

Fire Safety

Fire is a problem you might not expect to happen in a cold storage space, but they can actually be quite a common cause of devastation in these facilities. Automatic fire detection and alarm systems designed to the BS 5839-1 standard and first aid fire fighting equipment maintained to the BS 5306-3/-8 standard should be present in all establishments. Sprinkler and smoke ventilation systems are also advised for defending against fires in these cold storage facilities, with the latter ideal for helping employees leave the building safely by keeping the smoke at a higher level.


James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. His love for cold weather sports and hiking in the winter gives him the enthusiasm for writing about keeping warm.