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Locked Out? When to Call for Help and When to Do it Yourself (And How)

We’ve all experienced that dreaded moment of being locked outside of our own home. In many cases, it can be tempting to try and break in. Not only can this damage your door, but it can look suspicious to people passing by if they do not know you. If you must break into your own home, we have a few tips on how to do so.

What to do Before Trying to Open the Door Yourself

Attempting to break into your house can leave you with a damaged lock, doorknob, or door frame. If you’re considering hacking your way into your home, walk through these steps first.

  1. Get A Spare Key From a Family Member, Friend, or Neighbor

Maybe you lent your key to a neighbor so they could watch your house when you went on vacation. Or maybe you gave a spare key to a friend or family member for this exact reason. Either way, if you’ve given anyone a spare key to your house, see if they can let you in.

  1. Call Another House Member

If your house member isn’t home and they aren’t locked outside with you, they more than likely have a key in their possession. Though having a house member come to your rescue is ideal, you may not always have the luxury.

  1. Call Your Landlord or Apartment Concierge

If you rent a house or an apartment, it should be fairly easy to get back in. Either your landlord or the office of your apartment complex will have a key to your place. However, if it’s after hours you may be out of luck.

  1. Check for an Open Window or Back Door

Though it’s never a good idea to leave any door or window open, it’s worth a shot to check in this case. Do note, however, that if an upstairs window is unlocked, it is not worth it to attempt climbing up your roof to get in. It’s always better to play it safe, even if that means waiting for a locksmith to come to your location.

When Should You Do it Yourself? And How.

If you do attempt to unlock your door yourself, be sure you have an adequate reason to do so. If you’re truly in a time pinch and can’t wait for a technician to reach you, we have some tips on how you can unlock your front door. However, these methods only work if you have certain tools available – even if those tools are things like a credit card and bobby pins.

  1. Use a Credit Card

Credit cards aren’t just for emergency purchases – they can be used to unlock your door in an emergency. Simply place your card between your door and the door frame. Then, press the card away from the doorknob and towards the frame of the door to undo the latch. Keep in mind, this could damage your card so it’s best to use a plastic card you no longer need.

This method will only work on a spring bolt. If you have a deadbolt lock, you’ll need to try a different method.

  1. Remove the Doorknob

If you have a Phillips screwdriver, you can try removing it altogether. Unlike other methods, removing the doorknob is non-damaging so it can be a great place to start. However, this method will not work if your doorknob is tamper-proof. 

  1. Pick the Lock

Picking a lock sounds simple but it can be the most challenging option to unlock your door. You can use this step-by-step method to pick the lock with hairpins but it won’t work as efficiently as professional locksmithing tools would. 

When to Call a Locksmith

At the end of the day, your best option to unlock your door is to call a professional locksmith. A trained technician will be able to get you back into your home without damaging your locks. Plus, a professional locksmith can make a copy of your house key so you don’t end up in this situation again.

If you wind up locked out of your residential home, a Pop-A-Lock expert will be happy to assist you. Your safety is our number one priority, and we aim to get you back on track quickly, safely, and at an affordable price. For all of your locksmithing needs, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!


Warehouse Security Tips: How to Keep Your Commercial Work Space Safe

Between the high square footage and the abundance of products stored within their walls, warehouses are significantly vulnerable to theft. The number of goods found inside can be enticing to potential burglars and the vastness of a warehouse can provide ample opportunity for thieves to sneak around. However, if you implement these security measures, rest assured your building, your products, and your employees will be safe.

Here are a few things to consider when assessing the safety of your commercial warehouse.

Electronic and Biometric Locks

Though traditional locks may be appropriate in a typical office setting, they often won’t be a safe choice for a warehouse building. As the number of key copies grows, so does the risk of theft. Traditional keys can easily get lost or placed into the wrong hands. 

Electronic locks allow access through a passcode, which closes the gap for who can access a building. Not only does it eliminates the risk of losing physical keys, but a passcode cannot be stolen. The passcodes for these locks can also be changed periodically for more secure access. If someone needs access for a limited amount of time, they can be given a time-sensitive code to access the building. After the designated time has passed, the code will no longer work.

Biometric locks take security one step further. These locks require a fingerprint or retina scan to access the building. Biometric locks are by far the most secure because there is no faking someone else’s fingerprint.

Reinforce Entryways

Highly secure locks will go a long way in protecting your warehouse but only if they are supported by secure entryways. Be sure to install strong deadbolts, long high-durability screws, and heavy steel doors. 

To make sure your doors are secured in their frames, consider changing out ½ inch screws for 3 ½ inch screws. This will make the door significantly harder to kick in. 

For rolling doors, using high-strength locking mechanisms and thicker-gauge steel can prevent most intrusion attempts. Windows should be reinforced and kept locked whenever the warehouse is not in use. Rolling steel shutters can help further secure windows while protecting the building from natural disasters.

Motion Detection Alarms

Motion detection can alert you and your monitoring provider when someone is on your premises that shouldn’t be. When unwanted movement is detected on your business’ property, a signal is sent to your security system’s control panel, which then goes to your monitoring provider’s central system.

Oftentimes, your monitoring provider will investigate the movement and determine the next steps – whether that’s activating a message through the warehouse speakers or contacting emergency services. 

Be Thorough with Your Lighting

Poorly lit areas in a warehouse present two issues – safety hazards for employees navigating the space and a greater ability for criminals to hide. 

Every corner of a warehouse should be well lit, including the perimeter of the building. This will keep employees safe, prevent criminals from sneaking around the premises, and ensure quality video surveillance. Well-lit video surveillance makes it easier for a monitoring provider to identify a threat and take appropriate action. If your warehouse is not lit properly, motion detection security may not be as effective.

Fire Prevention

Building fires can have drastic results in any situation, but especially when a warehouse full of valuable products is at stake. Modern fire prevention such as fire sprinklers, fire exit doors, and fire extinguishers should be installed throughout the building.

Be sure your employees know the proper fire escape routes and establish a designated meeting ground.

Perimeter Protection

Stopping criminals before they even gain access inside the building is critical to keeping your employees and your products secure. After all, the perimeter of the building must be breached before a crime can take place. 

While traditional security equipment like CCTV can record footage and alert you after the fact, they are not capable of intervening with criminal activity.  Proactive video monitoring technologies that trigger an alert to your monitoring provider will be immediately investigated through a live feed, thus more effective than CCTV.

Depending on your provider and the technology, a security specialist will be able to address the intruder with an audio warning instructing them to leave the property. Many monitoring technologies also allow remote notification to on-site warehouse security. Essentially, proactive video monitoring functions as a 24/7 security guard for your warehouse.

Glass Break Sensors

Glass break protection signals an alarm if a panel of glass has been broken or shattered. It works by detecting noise or vibrations coming from the glass. If the vibrations exceed a certain threshold, indicating the glass has been broken, your alarm provider’s monitoring center will be notified.

Keeping your warehouse secure doesn’t have to be complex. By following these essential security measures, you can have peace of mind that your warehouse is safe. For commercial security solutions and lock hardware installation, your local Pop-A-Lock is happy to help!