Why a Home Security Audit Is Just as Important as a New Home Walkthrough

When it comes to home security, it’s important to take all the steps necessary to ensure that you, your family, and your belongings are safe. One of those steps is a home security audit. This type of audit is a comprehensive home security check and is just as important as the walkthrough you perform as a buyer when checking out your new home.

A black front door of a home with windows and fences on either side.

Home Security Audits

A home security audit leads you through a checklist of items to improve the security of your home. As you go through the checklist, you make a note of the problem areas and can schedule professional services to remedy them. The audit may take a few hours to a few days to complete, depending on the size of your home and how long it’s been since your most recent audit was performed. 

Some of the items covered in the audit include checking the locks on your home’s exterior doors, windows, and other access points to ensure that your locks are secure and functioning properly; testing for any weak points in your security system, such as faulty hinges, loose door handles, and other potential vulnerabilities; and considering every possible entrance in your home to find ways to improve their resistance to unwanted entry. 

New Home Walkthroughs

A new home walkthrough, on the other hand, is done when you’re moving into a new home. This walkthrough helps you become familiar with the layout of the home and all the potential security risks. It also helps you become aware of any potential issues like faulty locks or weak points in the security system. A new home walkthrough contains many of the same steps as a home security audit, but includes additional items such as making a log of existing damage to the home or checking to make sure that all the lights and appliances are in good working order.

A window covered with a metal grate on a bright orange wall.

What You Check During an Audit

Although the full audit checklist is extensive, some of the things you can expect to consider include:

  • Testing all doors and windows for proper operation and secure locks
  • Checking and upgrading the materials used to construct your windows and doors
  • Setting up and/or maintaining a security system, including cameras, lights, and alarms, in and around your home
  • Installing a peephole on all entry doors
  • Investing in a security fence or wall around your property
  • Adding outdoor lighting to illuminate dark areas
  • Trimming shrubs and trees away from windows and around the perimeter of your home
  • Keeping ladders and other tools inside a garage or shed at all times

Each checklist item ticked off or improved upon adds an additional level of security to your home. Keeping your family and your possessions safe is essential, and an audit can help you identify weak points in your home security system.

After the audit is complete, it’s time to take the steps necessary to improve the weak points you identified. This could include installing additional locks, upgrading your security system, or other measures. It’s important to carefully consider all of the weaknesses you found and implement the fixes as soon as possible.

A large padlock securing the door on a yellow shed.

The Importance of Home Security Audits

Home security audits are important because they help you identify and resolve any potential security risks and vulnerabilities before they become a major problem, as well as provide peace of mind that your home is secure. They also help you take the appropriate steps to make sure your home is as secure as possible by leading you through every step of the process. New home walkthroughs are an essential part of security as well, but completing an audit at least once a year is a critical component toward keeping your home safe.

Pop-A-Lock offers a readymade home security audit checklist to help get you on your way to total home security. If you haven’t completed a home security audit in a while, or if this will be your first one, check out the list and let Pop-A-Lock be your guide!

Spare Keys: Why They’re a Blessing and a Curse

Spare keys are one of those things you never think you need until you really need them. They’re a lifesaver when you’re locked out of your house or car, but they can also be a major headache if you ever lose them. Before you decide for sure if you want to make a set of spare keys, weigh the options below to see if they’re right for you.

The front door of a house with a staircase and flower pots.

Prevent Lockouts

If you lose your primary set of keys, that spare set can save you the stress of trying to find a quick and urgent solution. Having those spares already on hand is a ready-made answer to any issue that could cause you to be locked out of your home or car.

This is the primary reason many people keep spare keys in an easy-to-access location. The peace of mind in knowing you have the backup ready in case of emergency leads many to create copies of their keys. It’s always good to have a plan B.

In some situations, the lockouts might not affect just you. If you’re selling your home, giving a spare set of keys to potential buyers, real estate agents, or titling companies is often a requirement that necessitates getting a spare set made.

Share Keys With Loved Ones

Many people also share a spare key with family members or friends. Someone nearby who can help if you’re ever locked out is another worthwhile option to consider when deciding whether to take the spare key leap. 

On top of that, sharing your spare keys is a convenient way to let a trusted contact into your home without having to be there yourself. Vacations or just running late on the way home from the office can be excellent chances to have someone else step in and take care of an important time-based obligation, such as feeding pets or being present for a home service technician. And, if you have kids who are able to walk home from school or share a ride with a friend, that spare key can get them back inside.

But there are some other considerations that have to be present in your mind when deciding whether to make a set of spare keys.

A key on a keyring in front of a miniature model house.

A Pain to Keep Track Of

Extra keys create extra opportunities, both good and bad. While having a spare set of keys can be a great backup plan, house and car keys rank among the most common items lost every week by Americans. If you’re prone to misplacing things, you may find yourself losing your spare keys just as easily as your primary set.

It can be a nightmare trying to find a lost set of keys. For this reason, many people invest in a key organizer or an electronic tag that lets them track and locate their keys. And the good news is that, if you do lose your keys, a new lock installation will keep your home safe and secure.

Potential Security Risk

Spare house keys are often hidden under a doormat or inside a fake rock amongst the landscaping. While it’s certainly a good idea to hide a spare key if it’s being kept outside, these common hiding spots are prime targets for unwanted attention. If you can find an idea for a hiding spot for your spare keys with a Google search, so can anyone else. 

A better option would be to hide the spare key inside a lock box, ensuring the key is well hidden and out of sight. If the lock box is one with a combination, this has the added benefit of still providing easy access for friends or family to use your spare key if they need to while keeping out intruders. 

Overall, spare keys can be a helpful tool or a potential liability. It’s important to consider the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to make and keep a spare set of keys.

A digital code combination lock panel.

Handle the What-Ifs With Pop-A-Lock

In the worst-case scenario of being locked out of your home or vehicle without a spare key on hand, Pop-A-Lock offers high-quality lockout services to get you back in and on your way. If you’re stuck outside, don’t hesitate and contact us to get a tech sent out right away!

How Your Smartphone Can Protect Your Home

Smartphones – people don’t go anywhere without them. You can take video calls, check your emails, take professional-grade photos, and even buy your groceries from your phone. But that’s not all there is to it. Though it often goes unnoticed, your smartphone can help to keep you andyour home safe. With smart home devices, your phone can keep you in the loop, even when you’re away. Not only that, but you can also control certain settings in your home from any location. Ready to optimize your home’s security with the click of a button? Keep reading to see how your phone can help.

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What Are Smart Home Products?

You’d be surprised how many smart products exist for your home. From smart lighting, to electronic locks, to smart thermostats, it’s easier than ever to stay on top of what’s going on inside your home. Smart products like these can keep you safe in several ways. They can secure your home and prevent burglary, help you avoid electrical fires and energy waste, and give you some very useful insight into who has been near your front door. Let’s learn a little more about the various smart home products in the market.

Save Energy with Smart Lighting

With a special lightbulb, you can control your lights from your phone – whether you’re out running errands, or simply too lazy to get off of the couch. These lights are controlled through an app on your smartphone. You can adjust the brightness, color, and turn them on and off through the app.

The advantages to this are twofold: save energy, and prevent theft.

Needless to say, turning off the lights when you’re not in a room is one of the easiest ways to conserve energy and reduce electricity costs. If you leave your home and can’t remember whether you’ve turned a light off, simply check the app and take care of it on the go.

On the other hand, there may come a time where you’ll want to intentionally leave your lights on even when you’re not home. You can use this as a tactic to prevent burglary. No burglar wants to rob a home that looks occupied – using your app to flip on a light even when you’re not inside will quickly ward off any potential thieves.

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Lock it Up with Smart Door Locks

It’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t want a smart door lock for your home. Though there’s nothing wrong with traditional keys, you just can’t beat the level of security that smart locks have to offer. How many times have you left the house in a hurry, only to feel a pit in your stomach as you realize you left the doors unlocked? Smart door locks can fix that.

With a click of a button, at any location, you can quickly regain peace of mind knowing that your home is locked up and secure. There are also smart applications that work specifically for your garage door. This is great for homeowners who tend to enter and exit their home through their garage doors, rather than the front entryway.

Keep an Eye Out with Smart Cameras

Many homeowners and renters alike have decided to install cameras and smart doorbells to protect themselves. With a smart doorbell system, you can see the person on the other side of the door before opening it. This is especially helpful in cases when you’re not expecting a visitor or a delivery.

If you’re not home, the doorbell camera can alert you that someone is at your front door. It will show a video recording, typically with sound, to help you better understand the activity going on near your front door. This gives you solid evidence, should you ever need it, of who was at your front door and when. You can also install cameras inside your home if this makes you feel more comfortable. 

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Make the Smart Choice by Choosing Pop-A-Lock

We’ve only skimmed the surface in terms of the smart products available to keep your home secure. There are also smart home products such as smart security alarms and smart thermostats that can keep you safe and comfortable. 

If these smart devices aren’t enough to keep you relaxed about your home safety, Pop-A-Lock is more than happy to offer our guidance. Whether you’re looking for electronic lock installation or lock repair services, our team is dedicated to putting your safety first. For any trouble with your home’s locks, don’t hesitate to call your local Pop-A-Lock.

Watch What You Post: Your Online Presence Might Be Attracting Burglars

There’s no doubt that technology has made it increasingly easier to stay connected with people both in our neighborhoods and across the country. Social media features like stories and live streaming make it possible to access real-time information about your friends’ and family’s whereabouts. Though this can be fun for people you trust, it can also come with a huge downfall if you’re not careful.

In fact, over 78% of burglars use social media to find their targets. With constant updates, photos, and information in your bio, it’s not difficult for a burglar to pick up on where you work, where you live, and when you’re out of town.

Person sitting in an airport with their phone in hand, looking out the window at a plane taking off while resting their feet on their suitcase.

How Do Burglars Use Social Media?

When burglars browse social media, they’re looking for insight about who you are. Information in your bio, like your workplace or the area you live in, can easily be converted into clues for a burglar. If you post frequent stories or live streams, a burglar can also take note of where you typically are during a certain time of the day. 

You may be wondering how a potential thief could even find your home through social media, right? If your home is in the background of any of your photos, and the burglar can find the general area you live in through your profile, they’ll be able to put two and two together fairly easily.  

Why You Shouldn’t Post While on Vacation

Though it may be tempting to brag about your vacation before or while it is happening, this can quickly get you into trouble. A potential burglar who has already stalked your social media accounts will quickly jump on the opportunity to burglarize your home if they know that you are out of town. In fact, posting about your vacation before you even leave could be very dangerous as it gives a potential thief time to plan a robbery.

Person sitting in a lounge chair on the beach, reading a book with a ball cap on.

What Should You Do Instead?

The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your home is to delay your posts until you’ve returned from your vacation. We get it – it may be hard to resist posting that perfect beach photo of you in the clear blue water, but we promise it’s worth it. You’ll also want to avoid captions and comments that say anything along the lines of, “Getting on the plane! I’m so excited for my vacation!”

In the same way that posting about your vacation can be dangerous, posting too much about your everyday life can also put you and your family at risk. Posting about your kids’ school events, for example, can give burglars, or even kidnappers, too much information. If they find out what school your children attend, they can likely also find out the times when you’re not home. They may even be able to figure out what car you drive and, from there, find out where you live.

Close up image of an iphone showing a selection of social media apps including Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Clubhouse, and Facebook.

General Safety Tips for Using Social Media

Though the danger of posting too much private information on social media is very real, you don’t have to completely shut down your social media accounts. In addition to being cautious of what you post, it is also important to be cautious about who is able to see your posts. Keeping your account private will prevent anyone you don’t know or trust from seeing what you post. Don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from people you’re not familiar with.

Privacy on social media shouldn’t just end there – turning off location settings and geotagging options can keep your location secure. Avoid adding geotags to your posts, especially if it is a location you visit frequently. Geotagging your vacation posts is safe so long as you only post about your vacation once you’ve returned home.

Lastly, you should avoid including personal information in the bio of your social media accounts. Don’t list your birthday, hometown, or place of work.

For Ultimate Safety, Check the Locks

At the end of the day, staying safe from theft is all about being mindful of your decisions. This includes the decisions you make about what, when, and how you post on social media accounts. By using these tips, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your family safe. However, if you feel like you need an additional layer of security, rekeying or installing new locks is a great way to ensure that your home is safe from mishaps. Your local Pop-A-Lock is always happy to help with any of your locksmithing needs.

We provide expert lock rekeying and new lock installation to keep your home secure, so you can rest easy at night. Afterall, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep in your own bed after getting home from vacation.

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. 

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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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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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.

2. 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.

3. 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. 

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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!

6 Tips for Keeping Your Valuables Safe While Camping

Whether you live in a big city or not, the hustle and bustle of daily life can be overwhelming for anyone. One of the best ways to disconnect and refresh is to spend time in nature. Camping has many benefits, such as reducing stress, improving sleep and memory, and providing a vitamin D boost.

Unfortunately, if you are worried about criminals (or critters!) stealing your valuables, it can be hard to enjoy the peace and quiet. With these easy tips from Pop-A-Lock, you can keep your valuables safe while enjoying some time in the great outdoors.

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Research the Campground

Before you even start your camping trip, be sure to research the location. Some campgrounds are located deep in nature, away from the main road, and without security measures like patrol, gated entry, or surveillance cameras. This is not to say that you shouldn’t camp at these places, but it is very important to be prepared.

As you research the campground, don’t forget to read the reviews. Campers who have visited the site before will want to warn others if they’ve had a bad experience. Look out for any reviews about stolen valuables. By researching the campground before you go, you’ll have a better understanding of how safe the area is.

Choose the Right Spot

When arriving at the campground, be cautious of where you pitch your tent. Though being secluded from other campers may feel like a peaceful way to start your trip, it can ultimately be more dangerous. If other campers cannot see or hear any activity near your campsite, it will be very easy for a potential thief to get away. It is safest to camp in a well-lit area, especially if there are motion detector lights that can help you stay aware of activity near your tent.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Once you’ve pitched your tent, be sure to meet your camping neighbors. You’re all in the same boat, so don’t be shy. Offer to keep an eye on their camping gear if they are away for the day and they will do the same for you. Everybody wants to make sure their belongings are safe and you may end up making some good friends in the process.

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Stay Organized

As you unpack your things and get settled into your tent, remember to keep everything centrally located in the center of your campsite. 

It is far easier for an intruder to slip in unnoticed and steal items when they’re spread around the campsite. Plus, you and your family can lose track of your belongings if they are not organized. On the same note, it’s a good idea to do a quick inventory check each time you return to your campsite. 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Nothing will attract a burglar more than valuables openly lying around your tent. For a comprehensive guide on where to hide valuables in your car, check out this resource. Generally, you will want to store things in your trunk so they are not visible. If you drive an SUV where someone can look into the window of your trunk, consider investing in a trunk shade to hide your belongings. If you have valuables that will fit in the spare wheel well, this can also make for a great hiding spot. 

Whether you’re leaving the campsite for the day or just stepping away to use the facilities, be sure to bring your valuables with you. This may include things like your phones or other electronics, your wallet, and your keys. Other items like lanterns, sleeping bags, and blankets will generally be safe, but it is best to store them inside your tent or in your car.

The bottom line is, you don’t want any of your property lying around the campsite. It’s also extremely important to keep things secure at night. When you go to sleep, put your keys, phone, wallet, and any other valuables in a bag and tuck them into the bottom of your sleeping bag for safe keeping.

Store Your Food Properly

Just like you should put away your valuables when you leave your campsite, you also want to secure your food. Criminals aren’t the only thieves – wildlife may also try to steal your food and potentially damage your belongings.

Storing your food in airtight containers prevents animals from noticing its scent and raiding your campsite while also preserving its quality. Keeping your food off the ground also keeps animals from getting into it. You can either hang your food in a tree or store it in your car. Avoid storing food in your tent as you could risk animals breaking in to retrieve your food leaving you with nowhere to sleep.

The same rule applies to trash. If the campgrounds don’t have a dumpster nearby, be sure to keep your garbage in a secure container off the ground. Storing your food properly will help prevent animals from tracking it down which, in turn, protects your other personal belongings.

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Unwind With These Tips for Keeping Your Valuables Safe

There’s nothing better than escaping for a weekend to enjoy some time outdoors, especially when you follow these protocols to keep your valuables safe. If you wind up locking your keys inside your car with all of your belongings, your local Pop-A-Lock is just a phone call away. Our number one priority is keeping you safe so you can enjoy the activities you love.

Smart Systems: The Evolution of Home Security

As a homeowner, finding the right security measures to keep you safe in your home can be challenging. However, residential security systems have come a long way. With smart technology and remote monitoring, homeowners have the added benefit of keeping an eye on their home, anytime of day, regardless of where they are. When compared with early efforts of home security such as door shakers, it is easy to say that residential security systems have improved immensely. Keep reading to learn about the evolution of home security, and how modern technology can give you peace of mind in your own home.

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Traditional Home Security

Door Shakers

The first surge in home security efforts happened after World War I due to an increase in crime. Though it may sound trivial now, homeowners during this time would hire a service called door shakers. As the name implies, door shakers were a group of night watchmen who would shake people’s doors each night to make sure they were locked.

The First Instance of Central Monitoring

This is also when we saw the first rise of central monitoring services. Homeowners would install electromagnetic contacts to their doors and windows which were connected to a battery and bell. If the alarm system was triggered, the central station of the homeowner’s security monitoring provider would send a security guard to their home.

Early Stages of Video Surveillance

Fast forward to the 1970s, video surveillance became a widely accepted form of home security. Though the first model of the security camera was created in the 1940s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the camera system became popular for crime prevention. It’s worth mentioning that these early models of the security camera were not discreet. They were much bulkier than the often inconspicuous versions we see today.

The security system included a large motorized camera that moved down a track to view the perimeter of the home. These cameras were often paired with an intercom through which the homeowner could communicate with visitors outside their home and an alarm to alert emergency services.

Hardwired Security Systems

In the 1980s, security became less expensive and therefore a large part of home technology. At this time, security measures were hardwired which comes with a few downsides. They were expensive to install and difficult to adjust. They also required a connection to a physical phone line which made them more vulnerable to being damaged by criminals. If the wires would cut on these security systems, a monitoring service would not receive any notification of criminal activity at any given residence. During this time, automated garage doors and fiber optic video surveillance became mainstream and soon became more affordable in the 1990s.

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Cellular Monitoring

By the 2000s, hardwired systems became less common, as more systems primarily relied on cellular monitoring that uses internet monitoring as a backup. This decade also saw the rise of services that enabled users to access their homes via a web browser. Security also relied less on professional installation, allowing homeowners to install their own security measures of their choosing. They could buy various home security components and install the wireless sensors themselves.

Modern Home Security

Today’s home security measures far exceed past efforts. With smart technology and remote access, homeowners can ensure their home is safe no matter where they are.

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Electronic and Biometric Locks

Modern locks like electronic locks and biometrics can further prevent unwanted visitors from gaining entry to one’s home. With electronic locking systems, homeowners can change the code periodically and even use a time-restricted code to allow entry to their home for a brief window of time. This is more secure than a traditional lock because a physical key can easily be lost or stolen. Plus, as more copies of the keys are made, this risk increases. 

Remote Monitoring

In addition to improved monitoring systems that allow for security companies to monitor security wirelessly, things like smart doorbell cameras give homeowners more personal control over their homes. The footage from smart doorbell cameras can be monitored from a homeowner’s phone or laptop – whether they’re running errands, out of town, or at home and want to confirm a visitor before opening their front door. They also typically include audio surveillance in addition to video components.

Smart Technology

Long gone are the days of questioning whether you locked up the house or closed the garage door. Technology like smart lightbulbs and keyless entry smart locks allow homeowners to adjust their home’s security even when they’re away. Though smart lightbulbs merely sound like a way to cut back on energy consumption and save money, they can also deter potential burglars. Most burglaries occur during the day while homeowners are at work. By taking advantage of smart lightbulbs, homeowners can make it appear as though they are home at any time from any location.

Stay Safe with Pop-A-Lock

Installing smart technology in your home is a great way to stay safe and your local Pop-A-Lock can help! We can rekey your locks without replacing the original hardware, or install new electronic locks to keep your home secure. Regardless of your home security needs, your safety is our number one priority.


Purchasing Your First Safe: A Guide For Homeowners

Purchasing a safe is one of the simplest things you can do to keep valuable items secure. However, if you’ve never purchased a safe you could end up buying something that doesn’t truly suit your needs. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to regain  peace of mind knowing that your most prized possessions are secure.

Tips on Where and How to Store Your Safe

Before purchasing a safe, take into consideration everything you need to store in it. Determining the size of the safe you need will play a big role in where you store it.

You want to keep your safe hidden, but not if it means sacrificing light. Though hiding a safe in the depths of a dark closet may sound like a good idea, there still needs to be enough light to be able to open the safe and see inside. Certain locks, like combination locks, have very small numbers which are hard to see in the dark. As much as you don’t want a burglar accessing your safe, you still need to be able to get into it yourself.

Consider the flooring where you plan to store the safe. If you’re going to bolt your safe to the ground, concrete is much more reliable than wood. 

Some great places to consider storing your safe are in a guest bedroom closet or in an enclosed space underneath a stairway.

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Fire Ratings and Burglar Ratings

A fire safety rating determines how long the contents inside a safe will remain unaffected. An example would be a fire rating of 350-1 hour. This means that the inside of the safe will remain at or below 350°F for 1 hour. The reason fireproof safes are designed to maintain an internal temperature below 350°F is because paper will begin to burn around 387°F. Class A safes are able to keep internal temperatures at 350°F for up to 4 hours, providing superior protection.

Burglar-resistant safes are designed to prevent and slow down a burglar from breaking into a safe. Factors like wall thickness and door thickness can impact the level of security they offer. Similar to fire ratings, burglar ratings use time to determine their security. A TL-30 safe (also referred to as an F-rated safe) is resistant to common hand tools for 30 minutes. This may not sound like much, but 30 minutes refers to the time tools are actively touching the safe. This type of safe is so secure that jewelry stores are required to utilize them.

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Different Types of Residential Safes

Fire-resistant safes are used to store important documents, like birth certificates or a will. They may protect your paperwork from a house fire, but typically only for an hour or less. These safes are typically the most lightweight, but provide the least security against burglars. 

Burglar (fire) safes have three main types – standalone, wall safe, and floor safe. These safes are much heavier than the simple fire-resistant safe which makes them much more difficult to break into or steal. Most of them are fireproof, but not all.

Standalone safes are very heavy and can either be bolted into the ground or free standing. They can be fitted with different kinds of locks such as a combination lock, electronic lock, or traditional key lock.

Floor safes are designed to be embedded into the floor. For this reason, they can be the best option in terms of burglar-proof safes. The easiest way for a burglar to break into a safe is by removing it from the home and opening it elsewhere. By bolting a safe into the floor and locking it shut, the odds of a burglar breaking into it are much lower.

Wall safes are connected to the studs in the wall and are often located inside closets. They are discreet and convenient but are not necessarily the most secure. Wall safes are predictable and easy for a burglar to find. They can also be easily removed by cutting a whole in the drywall. 

Jewelry safes are also designed to be burglar proof, but are unique in their interior. These safes come with drawers, hooks, and often intricate designs on the inside. 

Similar to jewelry safes, gun safes have specialty interiors designed to keep firearms secure. They come in various sizes depending on how many firearms you need to store. They also come in various fire ratings. If you only need a gun safe to keep the firearms away from children, fire ratings may not matter. However, if you have an expensive or large collection, it’s best to opt for something fireproof.

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Which Type of Safe is Best for You?

The best kind of safe for your personal needs depends on the type of valuables you will need to store. If you only want to store important documents, a fire rating will have more importance than a burglar rating. If theft is your main concern, you’ll want to choose a TL-30 or F rated safe.

Regardless of which safe you choose, your local Pop-A-Lock is here for all your security needs. We offer expert security solutions so you’ll never have to guess whether your home and your valuables are safe.

Moving In? Here’s How You Can Secure Your New Home

For most of us, moving into a new home comes with a feeling of optimism and opportunity. Unfortunately, moving also invites stress. Between the extensive packing and unpacking process, and the worry of feeling unsafe in your new environment, moving can quickly turn from exciting to overwhelming.

With these tips, you won’t have to stress about securing your property. You can enjoy your new space while feeling confidently that it will keep you safe.

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Pack Wisely

As you pack up your belongings, we recommend using colored sticky notes, tape, or markers to coordinate which room a box belongs in. This saves a shocking amount of time, as it takes the guesswork out of unloading​​ your belongings into your new home. 

It’s important to take inventory of your things as you pack them up. Whether you are moving alone or you’ve hired a moving company, this will prevent your belongings from getting lost or stolen. Additionally, if you color coordinate your boxes, it will be easy to count the number of boxes you have for each room in the house.

Valuable items, like jewelry and sensitive documents, should always be stored in a security safe or somewhere out of sight. This can be pretty challenging to maintain during the move, so we recommend storing valuable items with a friend or family member until you’ve settled into your new home.

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Rekey the Locks

As soon as you have the keys to your new home, you should consider rekeying the locks or installing new ones

We typically recommend lock rekeying because it does not require changing the locks themselves. Instead, the pinning inside the locks is changed – it’s a win-win! You get to keep the same lock mechanism and spend less money on fixes, and have the peace of mind that the old keys no longer work.

This way, you’ll know exactly who has access to your home. Plus, keys wear down over time. By rekeying your locks, you won’t have to worry about your keys getting sticky for years to come.

Make sure there are enough keys for each member in the home. You may also want to make an additional copy to share with a trusted friend, or family member not residing in the home.

Check the Windows

Similar to checking the locks on your doors, you should also check the windows. Be sure the window and window locks both shut completely. You’ll also want to make sure your windows have protective screens, especially for second floor windows.

As you arrange your items in your new home, be mindful of which belongings are in view of the window. You should always leave valuable items out of sight

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Prepare Your Home For Emergencies

A fire extinguisher should be stored on each floor of your home. It’s best to keep one in the kitchen as appliances like the oven and stove can increase the risk of residential fire.

You also want to check that your smoke detector is working and that the batteries are fully charged. Modern smoke detectors typically come equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. If yours doesn’t, consider purchasing one. 

Next, check the dryer vent to be sure it is not clogged with lint. This may sound unnecessary, but if the dryer vent is clogged, hot air from the dryer will be trapped in your laundry room, increasing the risk of fire. In fact, laundry rooms are a leading cause of fire and water damage in residential homes.

As you fill the drawers and cabinets of your home, make sure you have flashlights and extra batteries stored throughout. Ideally, you should keep a flashlight in each room in case of an emergency.

Lastly, be sure to check that your security system is working properly. Your security system is there to keep you safe, but it only works if you work with it. Once you’ve tested that it’s working properly, set up a routine to check it regularly.


You should be able to enjoy your new home without being worried about your safety. By following these simple steps, you can alleviate some of the moving stress. If you need to rekey your locks or install new ones, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help. 

Workplace Safety: How to Secure Your Workspace

It is all too common for a business to heavily assess their data security, while neglecting the physical security of their building.

In terms of data, businesses should use a protected network that’s not easy to hack into. The network logins should not be shared with anyone unrelated to the business.

Building security is similar. It is important that doors remain locked, and that only employees have access to the building. Office security will help you build a better relationship with your employees – and your customers. We’ll walk you through some of our top security tips for the workplace.

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How a Security Plan Will Benefit Your Business

First and foremost, it’s important to understand why you need to protect your office building. Having a secure work environment comes with many benefits:

A thorough security plan means happier employees.  Some of the top factors that affect employee happiness are interpersonal relationships, culture, and work environment. Working in a secure environment helps promote a more relaxed atmosphere and employees feel more comfortable knowing their employer is equipped to handle safety issues. Studies show that happier employees are also more productive

Happier, safer employees will result in a lower turnover rate. Safety climate affects employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction. Employees who feel like the company cares only about productivity will quickly become discouraged and disengaged. On the other hand, employees who feel like the company values their safety will be much more motivated at work, resulting in a lower turnover rate.

Similarly to retaining employees, security measures have the potential to increase client retention. Customers like doing business with knowledgeable companies that they have already established a relationship with. Typically, your employees interact directly with those customers. When your employees feel motivated to stay at your company, they’re able to create and maintain long-lasting relationships with customers.

A security plan will reduce business costs and disruption. A company is less likely to experience financial loss if there is a quality security plan in place. They will be further protected from break-ins and data loss and will avoid setbacks on projects.

Part of a well-designed security plan also includes your response to incidents. If you have a security system in your building, you won’t have to do this alone. Both your employees and customers will appreciate your improved incident response.

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Safety Measures to Consider

Now that you understand the importance of workplace security, here are some of the things you should consider in your safety audit.

Make sure your external doors are secure. Employees may enter the building using traditional locks, ID cards, or biometrics. Traditional locks may be more common on older buildings, but provide the least amount of security. Keys used for traditional locks are easier to lose, and don’t provide any unique form of employee identification.

ID cards, on the other hand, can only be used by employees. Biometrics are the most advanced and protective form of lock. We’ll touch more on that later. Whichever entry system your company uses, make sure only your employees have access to the building.

In some situations, it may not be necessary to have locks on internal doors. However, if any of the rooms inside the building contain sensitive documents or expensive equipment, you’ll want to be sure these doors follow proper security measures. Whether it’s physical locks, ID checkpoints, or biometrics, these rooms should be secured in some way. In addition to proper locks, the areas surrounding these spaces should have a security alarm or security cameras.

Security systems like alarms and cameras will alert you of unwanted activity, whether you’re in the building or not. Not only do you need to find a security system that works for your business, but you also need to learn how to use it. There’s no point in installing a security system if it’s not a consistent part of your safety routine.

Fingerprints, retina scans, and hand geometry are all things biometric locks may scan for. Biometrics have become a common part of office security systems and are by far the most secure lock system. If you want to learn more about biometrics, check out this resource on our website.

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Increased Business Security with Pop-A-Lock

When you take care of your employees first, the whole business will run more smoothly. Make sure you are using a security system, your buildings locks are secure, and that sensitive information and expensive equipment are locked up. In addition to keeping yourself, your data, and your employees safe, a thorough safety plan will also help you earn more money in the long run. You’ll be able to reduce employee turnover, increase client retention, and avoid the financial risks of a break-in and data theft.

Your safety is Pop-A-Locks number one priority. Visit our website for any of your commercial locksmithing needs.