You’ve probably envisioned this nightmare many times: It’s a cold winter day and you’re freezing your hands off. You are bundled up in three layers of clothes and struggle to make it to your front door, your car, or your office. You’re simply desperate to get out of the cold and into the heat, so you reach for your keys and lunge toward the door. But just as you get your keys out of your pocket, you realize something: the key you need is broken or terribly damaged!
It could be a traditional key or a key fob, but either way, you are so cold that you’re losing the feeling in your hands and feet, and you now have no way to get out of the elements that are making your teeth chatter.
Simply put, this is not a situation you ever want to find yourself in, and if you do, you need to be ready to find a locksmith you know you can call to come help you immediately. You may be asking, “How do I find a locksmith this dependable?” or, “Who does the best key repair near me?”
If you are in the Vancouver, WA, area or the Portland metro area, the answer is Harry’s Locksmith, since we’ve been top experts in the area since 1949, and our range of experience and specialties is substantial. But what if you don’t live near Vancouver, WA?
There are a variety of problems that could cause your key issues, and you need to know what to look for in determining which locksmith near you has the skills and experience to fix your issue before you decide who to call for help.
Here are some of the common problems you might encounter.
These are some of the potential broken key problems that will likely require repair. Know that while these problems may frustrate you or leave you temporarily out in the cold, a good locksmith company should be able to fix the issue.
- Your key fob is destroyed or otherwise mangled.
- The transponder chip in your key is destroyed or otherwise mangled.
- Your key has snapped off or is broken.
- Your key fob has been damaged or destroyed.
- Your key is completely worn out.
- Your key is stuck inside a lock or automobile ignition and cannot be turned or retrieved.
- Your key has stopped opening a lock.
- Your electronic key has dead batteries or damaged buttons.
If your key is merely worn out, a good locksmith should be able to take care of the issue by re-cutting the key back to its original dimensions. This should be a quick repair.
If your key has snapped or is horrifically damaged, this will also be a quick fix if the locksmith has the necessary part in stock. Otherwise, unfortunately, you may have to wait a while to get the key fixed. In this particular instance, it will likely result in the key being re-cut or re-made.
If the key is stuck in a lock, then it must be extracted before anything else. If it’s a building door lock, it should be just a matter of extracting the key. But if the key is stuck in a car ignition and will not turn, you’ll need to find out if the issue is with the key or the car’s ignition. The good news is that a locksmith company that knows what it’s doing should be able to determine whether the problem is due to the key or the ignition fairly easily.
Remote Key Fobs
These electronic keys will need to be repaired or replaced, and probably right away because it may be virtually impossible for you to operate your car or enter your home or office without your keyless entry fob. And while it’s not generally a complicated process, it can take some time, since, often, broken or damaged key fobs will also need to be reprogrammed. Which means it will also require the services of a locksmith specializing in key programming.
Remote key fobs may be used for any of the following: home and business doors, vans, motorcycles, motorbikes, motor scooters, caravans, trucks, boats, and mopeds.
Keys with Transponder Chips
If something has damaged the key or fob but the transponder chip is still intact, the chip should be able to be reused in a new key. As with remote key fobs, you’ll want to contact a locksmith right away because it may be nearly impossible to enter a building or start your motor vehicle without a working transponder key. And if you’re dealing with a situation that will require reprogramming, it is, unfortunately, going to take a fair amount of time to get fixed.
Keep in mind that, once again, you’ll want to search out the services of a locksmith that understands the complicated ins and outs of transponder keys and programming and that can do the work right. This isn’t the time to go with a less experienced service provider that “thinks” it can complete the repair.
You need a specialized locksmith for key cutting, but you need an even more specialized locksmith for remote key fobs and transponder keys. You likely use both in your daily life, so you should give strong consideration to a locksmith company that has staff who specialize in both.
Whether you’re locked out on a cold day or stranded with a car you can’t start, we know you’ll want to get the repair made as soon as possible. Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, search “key repair near me” now. Having a locksmith company you already trust and can rely on for any type of key repair should speed the repair process up because you can avoid taking extra time looking for somebody who specializes in your particular immediate need or emergency.
When most of us enter or exit a building, we rarely think about all the technology that goes into making that happen. We walk in, we walk out, and we expect to remain safe in the process.
Entering and exiting is something we do dozens of times each day. We don’t think about it. We do it. Yet for many of us, there comes a time when getting out of a building as quickly as possible becomes necessary. And the normal front door operation might not do.
That’s what emergency exits are designed for. But as a business owner, it’s your job to think about emergencies before they happen. It’s important to have a panic lock for emergency exits in place to ensure safety and security for your customers and employees.
In a commercial setting, the standard exit lock (also called an exit device, exit bar, or exit hardware) is often in place. It’s a locking device that consists of a bar across the inside of the door; you push on it as you exit to release the door latch. If you try to open it from the outside, the door will be locked.
This can be a great form of security in some circumstances. It provides numerous ways of exit in a large facility, without putting occupants at risk by giving multiple ways of entry. You can also install hardware that requires a key or code to enter, to allow only authorized personnel to access whatever is beyond the door.
A panic lock (also called a panic bar, a crash bar, or a panic device) is used to provide quick unlocking of a door in an emergency situation. A panic lock is designed to save lives. It’s also designed for compliance with local and federal laws.
When a panic lock is used on emergency exits, it will have a spring-loaded metal bar fixed horizontally on the inside of the door. When the lever is pressed, it activates a mechanism that unlocks the door. Pushing on the bar will release the lock, making it easy to push the door outward and escape to the outside.
To be classified as a panic mechanism, it must:
- Release easily when pressure is applied to the push bar. It must easily open in the direction of exit travel.
- Have a push bar with a pressure of 15 pounds or less for easy use.
- Cover at least half of the width of the door, making it easy to use in emergency situations.
Meeting Codes and Requirements
According to the International Building Code Requirements (IBC), panic locks for emergency doors are required in three different situations:
- In assembly situations where the occupant load is greater than 50 people
- In educational situations where the occupant load is greater than 50 people
- In high-hazard occupancies, no matter how many people
These requirements are only in place on doors that have a lock/latch system. If it’s merely push/pull hardware without a locking mechanism, these rules don’t apply.
In some locations, commercial buildings are also required to follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) safety code, which requires panic hardware to be in place in four separate situations:
- In assembly situations with more than 100 people
- In educational situations with more than 100 people
- In daycare situations with more than 100 people
- In high-hazard situations with more than 5 people
The idea behind having panic hardware in place is to make it easy for building occupants to exit the building. There are many reasons people evacuate: accidents, threats, and fire are just a few examples.
In some cases, doors have more than one purpose. Yes, they are designed to move people from one area to the next. But in commercial applications, doors along the path of an emergency route may also be designed to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
Fire-rated doors are installed as a part of an overall fire-prevention strategy, which helps keep a fire contained to smaller areas within a larger facility. This helps building occupants stay safer while evacuation procedures take place and helps emergency personnel get in and out safely throughout the rescue process.
Fire-rated doors and other fire-rated building materials are usually located internally and are not included as a part of the exterior structure. They include:
- Doors that lead into stairwells
- Doors that lead to common hallways
- Doors that connect separate locations inside the building
All fire-rated exit devices must be panic exits by default.
Other Panic Lock Considerations
Panic hardware is designed to keep people safe. There are a few additional rules to keep in mind when installing panic locks for emergency exits.
Once a panic door is in place as required, no additional locking device can be installed. That means you can’t install a deadlock, padlock, chain, or other locking device to increase the security of the door. The panic hardware cannot be equipped with anything that prevents the release of the lock the way it was intended.
If a panic lock is used on a fire door, it must include fire exit hardware and be clearly labeled as a fire exit, stating, “Fire Door to be Equipped with Fire Exit Hardware.” Fire exit hardware is different in that it has a “dogging” mechanism that locks into place to prevent the spread of fire. A retraction device may be used to provide this dogging process, as long as the latch slips into place automatically when fire or smoke are detected.
If your commercial building is at risk for other possible emergencies, such as hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you might be under other codes and regulations. Consult the rules in your area to be sure you are in compliance with the regulations.
While panic locks for emergency exits are mostly installed for compliance and safety concerns, they can also be installed for convenience, security, or even durability as well. In some cases, panic locks make it easier for your customers and employees to move around. And because they add strength to your entry points, they might last for years longer than other locking mechanisms you might be considering.
Have a question about the best way to protect your property and comply with laws and regulations too? Harry’s Locksmith can help. Give us a call today.