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Back Door Break in Prevention PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink Locksmith CRL CPS   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 12:26

Back Door Break in Prevention

 Back door break in prevention is often a difficult situation for store owners. Breaking in back doors, which constitute upwards of 80% of burglaries, has caused retailers, chain stores and restaurant owners to resort to many locking devices (barrier bars, slide bolts, padlocks, etc.) which are not connected to any panic hardware. Use of locking devices which disallow proper egress from a building without a key and without any prior knowledge of how to unlock the door from inside violates basic fire and life safety codes and puts building occupants at risk. There is serious liability on the owner of the establishment, but security is essential for the business to avoid thefts and stay in business.

Why Can't I Bar A Door When The Building Is Unoccupied?

Any impediment on the door that requires more than one action and special or prior knowledge in order to exit violates basic fire and life safety codes. In an emergency situation, this could have the disastrous consequence of injury or death, and can cause civil liability and public relations nightmares for the owners of the business. As a security professional, you would not want to be trying to explain why an emergency exit door could not be opened and someone died as a result.
When store owners try to increase back door security with locks that do not allow proper egress, they maybe cited for code violations by the fire marshals and building inspectors. "We only use these at night after the store is closed" is not acceptable. You would have to rely on an employee to remember to unlock each and every door every morning. The risk of human error is to great. Firefighters and customers have died because of blocked emergency exits.
Exit devices originally were developed to ensure quick, easy, proper egress from a place of public assembly. Fire and building codes over the years have expanded this definition. Lighting and signage requirements direct people to these doors.  Safe exiting without  any special knowledge is required at any fire exit and can be complied with the proper selection of door locking hardware.

Local alarms provide local notification

In order to prevent the public from exiting through these doors in non emergency situations, local alarms were added to the exit devices to provide notification of personnel. These alarms do not prevent exiting, they notify personnel when the door has been used. This is very common in retail locations to prevent snatch and grab theft of merchandise.

Back door break in prevention requires special locks

Devices employing a single locking mechanism are providing only one security point for professional burglars to defeat. In many cases, a burglar can remove the hinge pins to break in through the door with an alarmed exit device. Many panic exit devices and fire exit devices provide little resistance to the most basic methods of break in and forced entry. The need exists for devices with absolute security that is also life safety code compliant.

Deadbolts that are code compliant

Security Group Inc. of Maspeth, New York, a wellknown manufacturer of innovative high-security locks, has come up with the solution to the problem: the MP Panic Exit Police Lock (490 Series). The MP Panic Lock projects stainless steel deadbolts from the door one inch into four points in the frame, header and threshold. The door is secured like a bank vault lock, yet only one action is required to push  the paddle and retract the bolts to open the door for exiting. This features allows the lock to meet fire and life safety codes, providing both safety and security in a UL-listed exit device.

Force burglars to avoid your door

Locking all four sides of the door defeats both common and professional break in methods. If only one side of the door is secured, the burglar knows that all he has to do is pry past that one edge and he can open the door. With all four sides deadbolted, the would be burglar would have to spread the entire door frame or rip the frame out of the wall to break in. This is too noisy and time consuming, and generally the burglar will be forced to stop his attack on the door and avoid your door completely.
The Securitech MP Panic Exit Police Lock is  surface mounted and therefore makes for a simple retrofit installation. It comes in alarmed and non-alarmed models. The lock can be mounted on a single or pair of doors (with or without a mullion and with or without  outside key entry function) and will fit any height and width of opening. Both the alarm and outside key function accept any standard cylinder, therefore, it is possible to integrate this lock into any existing keyway used at that location.


Delayed egress prevents thefts


An optional delayed egress feature can be incorporated into the device, making it ideal for preventing snatch and grab incidents, while at the same time preventing break ins . Integration with the fire alarm system may be required to allow instant exiting during an alarm situation.

Industry acceptance of the Securitech MP Panic Exit Police Lock


Introduced within the last two years at many retail loss prevention shows, major nationwide chains are now using and specifying multi-point exit devices for renovations and new store construction. Providing exit door security does not need to jeopardize a locksmith's career or put lives at risk. The MP Panic Police Lock provides cost effective safety, security and reliability all in one panic exit device.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 February 2010 09:25
Safe Deposit Locks - Key Changeable PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS   
Friday, 05 February 2010 20:08

Safe Deposit Locks - Key Changeable

Key Changeable Safe Deposit Locks

Safe deposit locks have been manufactured for many years but very few safe deposit locks have been more confusing than the Sargent and Greenleaf, Precision Products, and ILCO Unican key changeable safe deposit locks. The 4540 was the first key changeable safe deposit lock with a movable fence manufactured by Sargent & Greenleaf. Precision Products started to make their own version of the double key changeable safe deposit lock called the 5400 series. Precision products began to manufacture their 5400 series under the Sargent & Greenleaf name, also known as the Sargent & Greenleaf 4500 series. Sargent & Greenleaf began producing the 4543 key changeable safe deposit lock while Precision Products kept producing the 5400 series key changeable safe deposit lock. Sargent & Greenleaf also began producing the 4545 key changeable safe deposit lock. From the outside, it may be difficult to tell the difference between them as they look very much alike. From the inside, however, they are definitely not alike. The plugs, cams and covers may be different. Additionally, the guard plugs may be very thin, and the key blanks may be different. For all of these reasons, you need to know what lock you have in order to replace parts of locks when you are called upon to service them.

Below you will find some helpful descriptive terms for identifying these locks: 1) The Sargent & Greenleaf model 4545, double key changeable safe deposit lock from S&G. 2) The S&G model 4540 key changeable safe deposit lock. 3) The S&G model 4500 (Precision Products manufactured model 5400). 4) The Precision products model 5400. 5) The ILCO model 54000 safe deposit lock manufactured by ILCO Unican. This should help you with safe deposit lock identification in the field.

   ( S&G's current double changeable lock)
   - Incorporates two piece renters, plug and cam.
   - Has manufacturing date stamped in left hand corner of the lock case.
   - Uses 5/32" cap screw for changing both renters and guard keys.
   - Uses thick guard key.
   - S&G 4500 series stamped on back of lock case.
   - All levers are pocketed so the plugs go through the center of them.
   - Guard plug has no tail piece.

    (Manufactured by Precision Product with S&G logo)
   - Incorporates single piece renters plug.
   - Uses thin guard key.
   - Uses 5/32" cap screw for changing both renters and guard keys.
   - Sargent & Greenleaf 4500 is stamped on the back of the lock case.
   - Levers are not pocketed, both plugs go into lock case beneath levers.
   - Guard plug has no tail piece.

   (First double key changeable made by Sargent & Greenleaf)
   - Incorporates two piece renters, plug and cam.
   - 4540 series is stamped on the cover, closest the bolt.
   - Uses 3/32" cap screw for changing both the renters and guard keys.
   - Uses thick guard keys.
   - All levers are pocketed so both plugs go through the center of them.
   - Guard plug has no tail piece.

   - Incorporates single piece renters plug.
   - Precision model 5400 is stamped on the back of the lock case.
   - Uses 5/32" cap screw for changing both renters and guard keys.
   - Levers are not pocketed, both plugs go into the lock case beneath levers.
   - Uses thin guard key.
   - Guard plug has no tail piece.

   - Incorporates single piece renters plug and cam.
   - Precision Ilco Unican Corp. series is stamped on the back of the lock case.
   - Uses 5/32" cap screw for changing both renters and guard keys.
   - Levers are not pocketed, both plugs go into the case beneath the levers.
   - Uses thick guard key.
   - Guard key has no tail piece.

The changing function s for all these locks is the same. To change the renter's keys, the function is as follows:
   Step 1. Insert guard key and rotate clockwise until it stop.
   Step 2. Insert renters key and rotate clockwise until it stop.
   Step 3. Loosen renter fence clamp screw (on the back of lock) with change wrench 3 1/2 turns counterclockwise.
   Step 4. Turn renters key clockwise and take out of lock.
   Step 5. Insert new renters key, rotate counterclockwise until stop.
   Step 6. Tighten renters fence  clamp screw clockwise.
   Step 7. Rotate renters key to locked position, remove key.
   Step 8. Rotate guard key to locked position, remove key.
Lock is now set to new renter's key.

The changing function for changing the guard key is as follows:
   Step 1. Insert guard key and rotate clockwise until stop.
   Step 2. Insert renters key and rotate until stop.
   Step 3. Loosen guard fence clamp screw (on back of lock) with change wrench 31/2 turns counterclockwise.
   Step 4. Rotate guard key counterclockwise to lock position and remove key.
   Step 5. Insert new guard key rotate clockwise until stop.
   Step 6. Tighten guard fence clamp screw clockwise.
   Step 7. Rotate renters key to locked position and remove key.
   Step 8. Rotate guard key to locked position and remove key.
   Lock is now set to new guard key.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2010 20:17
Replacing Concealed Vertical Rod Exit Devices on Narrow Stile Glass Doors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS   
Tuesday, 26 January 2010 22:32

Replacing Concealed Vertical Rod Exit Devices on Narrow Stile Glass Doors

by Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS

I once was shown a narrow stile glass door with a concealed vertical rod exit device that had been a maintenance and security problem for the company ever since they took occupancy. Employees were using the door to exit the building, sometimes with company property, often to smoke, or to take an anauthorized break, or to use it as a short cut to the parking lot. In addition, to make it easier to enter through the door from outside, employees would stuff paper, chewing gum and other debris to disable the rod receptacles, both top and bottom, thereby preventing the door from latching or locking.
Since the maintenance director, the company manager, and the local fire marshall had already talked about how the state frowned on exit doors being blocked, padlocked, screwed shut or boarded up, I was called in to offer a solution that would be compliant and prevent employees from disabling the locking hardware on the door or frame.
My solution was to suggest an Arrow 400 series alarmed exit device with an Arrow S75 narrow stile mounting plate. That was the easy part. What made the job difficult was the removal of the existing concealed rod exit hardware. The removal of the old device was complicated by the necessity of having to take the door down to remove the bottom section of the concealed rod assembly.
This door had an overhead door closer which could have been removed. It was not necessary to remove the entire closer. I elected to just take off the arm. Next, the hinge screws needed to be removed to drop the door. These doors will normally use either standard hinges or top and bottom pivot hinges.
Before removing the hinge screws, I will often use wedges, blocks of wood, or both under the door to act as blocking material and prevent it from falling when the hinge screws are removed. Loosen the hinge screws a little until the door settles onto your blocking material, then slowly remove them all after making sure your wedges are secure and supporting the entire weight of the door.
Once the screws are removed, the door can be taken down by removing the wedges and allowing the door to tilt outward slightly. This action will pull the top hinge out of the frame and allow you to lift  the door off the bottom pin and set it aside to do whatever service work you need to perform. In this case, the removal of the bottom portion of the vertical rod assembly.
Although I regularly take down narrow stile doors by myself, I strongly recommend that you use a helper or able apprentice that wants to learn how to become a locksmith. If you don't have a helper, then don't try this procedure by yourself on a windy day or on a busy doorway. You can imagine the potential consequences. As anyone that works on busy, high frequency doorways knows, it is very helpful to have your helper as an extra pair of eyes for those who insist on passing through the doorway while you work on the door, despite your well placed "please use other door" signs. They always are good at excusing themselves but seem never to understand the danger that they place themselves and yourself in when they pass through the doorway while you are balancing a door.
Now that the door has been taken down and the bottom portion of the vertical rod assembly removed, you can rehang the door and adjust the hinges if necessary.

 Let's see how the Arrow 400 series alarmed exit device mounts on a narrow stile glass door.
The first thing that is required is to install the Arrow S75 narrow stile mounting plate. I painted the mounting plate to allow the finish of the plated screws to match the Duronodic finish of the door.
As a rule, I install a third screw near the center of the installed strike on all my panic hardware or fire exit device installations, after adjusting the strike, to prevent the strike from being moved or knocked out of alignment. I have found this to be helpful in preventing unnecessary call backs due to latching or locking problems. I have noticed that more panic hardware and fire exit device manufacturers have engineered such a provision into their products. Install the third screw after you properly adjust the strike.
The mounting plate offers a solid foundation for the Arrow 430 alarmed panic device to mount on a narrow stile door. You can use the same plate to mount Arrow's 300 series exit alarms to narrow stile doors.
The only thing left to do is to install the mortise cylinder in the alarm cover, attach it to the chassis, and put the end cap over the end of the device.
Doing this installation myself took me about four and one half hours. That time included taking down and rehanging the door and about one hour driving time to get to the job site. The great thing about this kind of work is that it is there waiting for those of us willing to take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. The opportunities for installing panic hardware, fire exit door hardware, door closers and other commercial door hardware are to be found in virtually every business you work in. Additionally, the many methods used by a few employees of a business to disable hardware are liability risks to your commercial client. You have to let your customers know when you recognize threats to safety of building occupants or potential pilferage problems that can fully justify the expense of your good installation with increased safety and reduced theft of inventory. It's up to you to recognize the need and be ready to offer a solution to fit your customer's requirements. You become a life saver and cost effective solution provider to your customer in the end.
Don't be intimidated by concealed vertical rod exit devices. You can replace them. The next time you pass through one of these doors, if you have not attempted this procedure yet, take a moment to think about how you would approach the job of replacing a concealed vertical rod exit device.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 23:45
Electronic Access Controls - Readers, Keypads and Proximity Devices PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS   
Monday, 25 January 2010 23:44

Electronic Access Controls

Card Readers, Keypads and Proximity Devices


Should you use a card reader, keypad or both? The selection of reader and keypad combination affects the level of security at an entry point. Use of proximity devices may increase convenience, but have drawbacks in security as well.


Keypad Only

Generally, a keypad only installation is considered less secure than a reader only installation. The reason being that users may illegitimately lend their codes to another person but cannot prevent further use (in comparison to getting a card back) unless the code is changed. A user's code may be seen while entered into the keypad input device and duplicated without any special equipment.


Card Reader Only

A card reader only installation is the most common application but can be susceptible to illegal entry by a person that has found a card outside the protected site such as in a parking lot or on public transport. Usually, a card swipe reader installed outside of a building is more susceptible to vandalism as well.


Reader and Keypad Combination

Adding a keypad to the reader as part of your electronic access control system significantly increases the level of security. The users now require a card plus a keypad PIN (Personal Identification Number). Optionally, this requirement can be scheduled for use only outside business hours rather than during high traffic hours, minimizing bottlenecks and employee frustration.


Long Range Proximity Reader Devices

The most common use for long range proximity readers is for parking entrances and handicap facility requirements. Although several users of your system may demand long range proximity, they are seldom aware or informed of the actual side effects of these readers. For example, a long range reader installed at a door in a corridor may read cards of users walking by the door that have no intention of unlocking and entering that door. The door will actually unlock, and remain unlocked for the preset time, without the knowledge of the user. Another situation that happens frequently at a door is several users are outside the door discussing something and finally one user goes in. There is a possibility the system may erroneously report the user having just entered as an unauthorized entrance. Make sure that the readers are installed in a way to prevent such instances and that a voluntary action from the user is necessary to unlock the door. In most cases, you may revert to a 10cm (4") reading range. For parking lots, there are other alternatives using wireless transmitters and vehicle tags.


What about site codes or families?

Site codes or families were originally created to provide for the production of a larger number of 26 bit cards by duplicating cards rather than increasing the number of available user codes. The cards were ordered for a specific site and the manufacturers, in the beginning, were keeping track of what had been shipped where. When a new site was installed, the site was provided with a site code that had never shipped to that immediate geographic area, thus maintaining the level of security of the card. Because all the cards on a specific site had the same site code, the control equipment did not have to store the site code in each of the user's codes, thus reducing memory requirements in the hardware. As the market for access controls grew, it became almost impossible to maintain such a strategy. Although there are still some manufacturers working this way (this change represents considerable modifications to both hardware and software), the trend is to provide cards with a greater number of bits, rendering site codes obsolete. This new method also means faster delivery of cards, even for add ons to existing sites, right out of the manufacturer's or distributor's regular stock. As long as the card number is unique, security is maintained. Manufacturers should be requested to provide a written statement certifying that their cards are unique and will never be duplicated.


What About multiple technology cards?

The most common reason for multiple technology cards would be that there is already, on site, a system such as time and attendance, using magnetic stripe or bar code cards. The end user should request higher security proximity cards for an electronic access conrol system. It would be inconvenient for employees to carry multiple cards. The existing cards should be replaced by dual-technology proximity cards with the second technology being bar code or magnetic stripe.


Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2010 22:01
Electronic Access Controls - Do you always need a door contact? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS   
Monday, 25 January 2010 23:31

Electronic Access Controls
Do you always need a door contact?

In most applications, the low cost door contact is the only supervisory element that protects the investment made to control access to a door. The door lock and card reader (or keypad) provide security and prevent unauthorized entry only when the door is closed and locked.
By means of a simple door contact, it is possible to monitor several door conditions such as: door forced open, door remains open, or left open too long after a valid access, door relocked by a schedule while still open, or a user was granted access but never actually entered (important for anti-passback applications).
Also, most locking devices are available with integrated supervisory contacts. For example, electric strikes can be ordered with a contact that supervises the position of the door latch. Electromagnetic locks can be supplied with a sensor that reports the presence of the door plate (door is closed and lock is energized). These contacts are generally used in addition to a regular door contact and can provide valuable tamper information for high security applications. These contacts are often wired in series with the door contact but also monitored separately.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2010 22:04
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