You might wait until an emergency before you contact a local locksmith or perform maintenance checks on locks and keys. Here are seven pieces of advice about how to secure your property before an emergency occurs.
1. Don’t Put a Fancy Lock on a Cheap Door
To secure a home you need the right locks. Emergency locksmiths advise homeowners to lock up their valuables with a lock that’s at least grade two on the lock performance scale, while deadbolts need to have a proper security plate.
2. Don’t Panic, Use WD-40 on Locks
If you find your key unable to turn in a lock, you may not have to contact an emergency locksmith. The problem could just be dirt or other debris jamming the pins inside the lock’s mechanism.
Commercial locksmiths interviewed by Reader’s Digest say consumers using WD-40 or silicone lubricants on stubborn locks fixes the problem 25 to 40 percent of the time. You should keep a can of lubricant in your car or another easily accessible area for emergencies.
3. Don’t Hide Keys Under the Doormat
If you want to keep an emergency key on your premises, you need to pick a good hiding place.
Planters are another hiding place for keys that are usually checked by criminals.
Planters are another hiding place for emergency keys that are usually checked by criminals.
The Advanced Key Mobile Locksmith Service says the best option is to leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor or friend, but if that isn’t possible, don’t keep your emergency key within 10 feet of your lock. Criminals are wise to the usual hiding places and will check the immediate perimeter. Commercial locksmiths suggest a good hiding place for keys is unique to you and at least 15 to 20 feet away from the lock.
4. Don’t Fall Prey to Locksmith Scammers
The worst part about waiting for an emergency before finding a local locksmith is that you may call the first service you see.
It’s a good idea to check out references or online business reviews. You should perform your search for an emergency locksmith now while you have the time to do a thorough background check.
Plenty of scammers buy ad space online or in phone books and then charge huge fees for simple lock and key services. Great Lake Security Hardware advises consumers to make sure the business has a local address, a local phone number, is available at any hour and is willing to share its history and experience in the community.
For more info, check out our article on how to avoid scammers.
5. Don’t Ignore Fraudulent Commercial Locksmith Warning Signs
The Federal Trade Commission states there are a few red flags you should look out for when researching a commercial locksmith.
When you call for services, ask for identification the first time you work with them. They should have a business card, and depending on your state, you can also ask for a commercial locksmith license. A reputable service should ask you for your identification as well before working on the locks of your property.
When you call them, make sure they give the name of the business and don’t just describe their company as “locksmith services.” If they refuse to give you a name, hang up and try another. Check the address they have listed. Some fraudulent commercial companies will use the local address of an empty lot or other front.
6. Keep an Emergency Locksmith in Your Phone
Once you find a local locksmith you can trust and is available 24 hours, make sure you save the business number as a contact in your phone.
Don’t keep it on the fridge or in your house – handwritten numbers may not be accessible in an emergency. The same is true for business cards; you want the number saved on the device used to contact the emergency service. You should also keep contacts saved on an online source in case you are separated from your phone.
Commercial locksmith services can design key systems that grant limited access. A company like A&B Security Lock and Safe can give you a master key that opens both the doorknob and the deadbolt and provides you with keys that only open the door knob. Babysitters, housekeepers and neighbors can keep the limited access keys and you can lock just the knob on days when they are supposed to arrive .
Locksmith services can design keys systems that grant limited access.
7. Don’t Forget to Try Your Door
In an emergency, people can become flustered and lose their cool. You might make some very simple mistakes while panicking.
If you have a problem with your lock or keys, take a second to breathe. Be certain to try all practical options before you call an emergency locksmith.
The 24-hour locksmiths interviewed by Reader’s Digest said there was more than one time they responded to an emergency only to find that the person who made the call had not actually tried opening the door. Sometimes people see their keys left on a car seat or through the window in their homes and instantly assume they are locked out.