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If you have lost your keys and locked yourself out of your house or car, have a lock which has seized, or the backup battery on your digital keypad-access safe has died, you need a locksmith to help you get back on track. They can also help with less time-sensitive issues like changing locks, help install security alarm systems, etc.
A locksmith is a professional who specialises in locks and keys. He is the person who can open locked doors, cut new keys as duplicates, remove and install locks and the opening/closing mechanisms on doors, and disassemble electrical and mechanical locks. His skills extend to the ongoing maintenance of existing locking mechanisms by repairing or replacing components such as springs, tumblers, etc. Locksmiths sometimes extend their range of services to include security features such as fitting motion sensors on windows and doors or fitting special locks on sliding doors which allow them to remain partially open but locked in position so they cannot be opened further from outside.
Reputable locksmiths are represented by LASA, the Locksmith’s Association of South Africa. The locksmithing industry is regulated by an Act of Parliament and falls under the auspices of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). All locksmiths are required to register with this Authority. The work of locksmiths is therefore open to scrutiny and their actions must be above board and within legal boundaries. Certain specialised locksmith tools such as key cutting equipment and other unique tools of their trade are, for security purposes, subject to restricted availability as these tools may be used for criminal purposes if they land in the wrong hands. Since locksmiths are experts at picking and opening locks using specialised equipment, it is clear that such equipment must be carefully monitored and its use restricted to authorised persons only.
Safes are not beyond the scope of locksmiths, as they are able to open safes which use either keys or digital keypads with battery power sources. Sometimes the low battery warning is heeded too late, and the keypad becomes ineffective when trying to open to safe. Here is where the locksmith will step in to expertly access the battery and replace it without damaging the safe itself.
Always choose a locksmith with a good reputation. Almost everyone has had to make use of a locksmith’s services at some time, so it might be very easy to find one through word of mouth from friends and colleagues. Reputable locksmiths advertise widely, and their service specialisations will be listed, so it should not be difficult to find one for your particular needs. If you are unsure, check the internet for locksmiths in your area, and read their online reviews before going ahead. Uptasker is a valuable resource in this respect, especially with regard to online reviews from previous clients.
Sometimes speed is vital when a locksmith is needed, and reviews will give you an idea of how fast the locksmith responded to a call and how fast and efficiently they resolved the problem. Did they bring the right tools for the job based on the information given? Did they need to return to finish the job, and was there a good reason for this? When you come home late and find that you have mislaid your keys, or a lock breaks on an outer door just when you need to leave home on important business, your local locksmith will come to your aid. Many locksmiths have emergency 24-hour helplines, so there is no need to panic, whatever the time may be.
Accidents and unexpected problems can happen at any time of day or night, but where locks are concerned, there is always a solution at the other end of a phone. Add the name and telephone number of your preferred locksmith to your phone’s contact list, and you need never worry about being locked out of your home or car indefinitely. Their specialised skills will get you back where you belong very quickly and efficiently, with the added assurance that your security and safety have not been compromised in any way. For more tips, see our locksmith articles.