By Wes Wernette
Employees at many companies carry a card with a magnetic strip or proximity capabilities. When swiped, the door reader accesses and verifies the digital credentials stored on the card and matches it against the data saved on a dedicated computer. If it jibes, the door unlocks. The key word here, no pun intended, is unlocks. This may be electronic access control, but it boils down to opening a locked door. The difference is the type of lock. A locksmith called to install or service such a card access system needs to be knowledgeable about magnetic locks, electric strikes, and electric locks.
Keypads have been used for some time; however, various high-security buildings are now using a double credential system. The cardholder inserts the magnetic strip card but also has to enter a PIN. Again, the data is checked against the central computer. Keyboard locks are not mechanical, they are battery powered: the newest batteries are quite energy efficient — and it’s not uncommon for one to last three or four years. Low power indicators signal when it’s time for a new battery. Some have audible beeping, others, blinking lights — whichever it is, a delay replacing the battery can result in a company-wide lockout. A locksmith commissioned to remedy the situation should be an expert in stocking batteries and changing them. Since keypads may need occasional reprogramming, the locksmith should also be digitally knowledgeable.
A safe should be bought only from a qualified locksmith who knows how to install it securely to avoid theft. Organizing a maintenance schedule is highly recommended since nothing can bring a bank or jeweler’s business to a screeching halt like a safe that will not open. A locksmith trained in safes should know how to replace a worn-out tumbler, adjust a door so it doesn’t drag, or decipher a forgotten combination code. If desired, he should also be able to remove the lock and upgrade the safe with a digital entry system that uses a magnetic strip card or biometric verification access card.
Alarm and Surveillance Systems
A growing number of locksmiths are training to install and service electronic access control systems, as well as closed circuit television systems (CCTV), network-attached surveillance cameras and alarms. Some locksmiths will send a representative to examine the facility and design a comprehensive system.
With so many buildings employing computer network-attached security systems, a new breed of locksmith is branching out to service computer hardware and software, in addition to locks. No matter the job, it is essential that the locksmith you work with is professionally trained. For further research, here’s a look from the Associated Locksmiths of America of what you should expect from a skilled locksmith.