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Posts Tagged ‘safes’

Types of Safes

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services

Types of Safes

The majority of people consider their door locks as being the single element of home security, but they don’t often consider the way that safes can effectively protect their valuables. Safes are effective in both residential and commercial settings, and are available in both cheap and expensive varieties. Here, as prepared by the safe experts at Top Locksmith, is a brief guide to the different types of safes and what they do.


Diversion Safes

This is the most rudimentary type of safe available. It’s often called a hidden safe as it’s usually made of a typical object like a can, a candle, or a book. Valuables can be hidden inside these clandestine safes and stored inconspicuously in plain sight – on a bookshelf for example.


Fire Resistant Safes

These safes protect items from high temperatures, and are rated according to the amount of time that they can withstand extreme temperatures while never exceeding a particular internal temperature, that’s usually up to 350 degrees. These safes often have a 30 minute to 240 minute amount of fire protection, and are even more effective when they are installed inside concrete floors. However, these safes aren’t always watertight, and can fill up with the water from fire hoses or sprayers, so everything stored inside fire resistant safes should be placed inside double zip dry bags or sealed plastic containers.


Wall Safes

These are usually used to hide and protect jewelry or documents, and can be installed in different wall thickness depths. Some have pry resistant doors that are recessed and have concealed hinges, and these safes can easily be hidden by covering them with furniture or a painting.


Jewelry Safes

These safes are resistant to both fire and burglary, and are usually equipped with luxurious internal jewellery compartments with fine wood and fabric that are available in multiple customizable configurations. These safes are typically smaller than others.


Burglary Resistant Safes

These safes get rated based on their ability to resist the tools that burglars typically use in a break in, and the amount of time it would normally take a burglar to get to the safe – however, they are not designed to withstand heat in the same way that a fire resistant safe is.


Environmentally Resistant Safes

These safes are resistant to specific environmental elements like dust and water, and unlike fireproof safes, they can withstand long underwater immersion without affecting the important objects inside.


Fire Resistant Record Protectors

These self contained bodies are insulated and contain singular or multiple separately rated containers with different compartments meant for the safekeeping of important records. They are rated based on criteria including impact resistance and falling distance tests.


Smart Safes

These safes are designed to validate bills or dispense cash like ATM machines, allowing customers to use them at their choice or convenience, creating the environment for a secure financial transaction.

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Safe Lockouts

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

There’s many reasons that your safe might not open properly – however, if you are experiencing this frustrating phenomenon, you’re 100% working towards the goal of getting the damn thing back open again! Here’s Top Locksmith’s guide for safe lockouts.


What kind of safe do you have?

The first step to do when you’re locked out of your safe is to determine exactly what kind of safe you have. Look for company logos on the front of the safe. If you can’t find this information, look to see if you have any purchase records like receipts for the safe. If this can’t be found, inspect the safe’s size and construction method – there’s a likely chance that it truly is not a safe, but is a lockbox (but in either case, they can be opened by a licensed professional like those at Top.) If you still can’t figure it out, just call a professional – they will be able to.


Why are you locked out?

Did you accidentally break off the key in the lock? Did your electronic lock run out of batteries, or did the power go out? Did you lose or forget the code combination? In that case, there might be a reset code in the included manual or receipt (which is an indicator that you could really use a more secure safe!) Other mechanical issues include broken bolts or jammed up internal components in the safe handle. If the handle is spinning like the safe is open but it still won’t it’s likely a bolt issues.


Access Methods

Safe Bouncing

If this method works, you should have bought a more secure safe. Basically, in order to bounce a safe, simply strike the top of it while turning the handle at the same time – a motion akin to bumping akey. It will temporarily shock the interior components of the safe into their opening position. The maneuver requires a bit of elbow grease and practiced technique – and any self respecting safe should be able to resist it – but it can work on sub standard or shoddy safes.


Overriding the Lock

Override options often exist in small electronic keypad safes – such as hotel room safes that are intended for combination code reset. Sometimes, there’s a factory standard code that can be input to reset the safe – which is often a series of repeating zeros. Make sure to consult the manufacturer to get the correct reset code for your exact model of safe. There might also be openings on the bottom of the safe if it was not properly bolted down that might allow you to access a combination reset switch on the inside of the door – which is a difficult task akin to opening a car door with a wire hanger, but is technically possible. If a safe is not working due to an empty battery or power outage, these methods will not work.



This is a difficult task which most people can’t do. However professional locksmiths can open your safe this way as long as the safe is fit with a dial combination lock. For the most part, these methods won’t harm the safe. However if your safe doesn’t have a combination lock, there’s external manipulation based safecracking methods which may harm the safe – but not so direly that it will need to be completely replaced. These methods include drilling a hole into it, and inserting thin tools to manipulate its interior components – which obviously compromises its security, but then again, that’s kind of the point.

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Types of Security Safes

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips


There’s many kinds of security safes available on the market today for both residential and commercial use. Based on what your specific context is, you can choose security safes with additional features like fireproofing, or choose a more simple layout. Here’s a guide to some of the many main categories of security safes on the market today.

Office Safes

Safes in commercial office locations can vary from different sizes or exact functionality, based on the needs of the business. Some safes are massive and can hold large quantities of cash, important sensitive documents, electronic equipment, or other valuable items. Some other commercial locations may opt for a somewhat smaller safe that can hold day to day earnings.


Wall Safes

Wall safes, as you may have inferred, go inside the walls of residential or commercial locations. They protect all valuables or important documents safe from burglars, but they should also be officially rated as protecting them from water and fire, in the event of a fire or flood. Once you decide on the ideal size and specific features that you need, you should consult with a professional safe installer regarding the best location inside your home or business to install the safe. It’s common to place a picture, art, or furniture over the face of the safe in order to disguise it from unknowing passersby.


Fireproof Safes

Fireproof safes vary in terms of their heat ratings – based on how long the contents of the safe and it’s internal temperature can resist growing beyond 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fireproof safes are rated on a scale of 1 to 3, numbers which demonstrate how many hours it’s inside will stay below 350 degrees in the event of a fire.


Gun Safes

These safes are meant to prevent unwanted people from having access to guns that are kept inside residences or businesses. They are available in a wide range of sizes that can accommodate many different firearms, from small pistols to big shotguns. The locking mechanisms on these safes vary wildly, and can include combo locks, deadbolts, electronic codes locks, or even biometric locks. The majority of high quality gun safes also boast fireproof ratings.

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Little Known Facts about Safes

safe lock

For an item as ubiquitous and universal as safes, very few people know about their history, or the technical aspects of their construction. Here’s our primer on little known facts about safes.

The higher the price, the more quality the safe

While this equation isn’t always true with every kind of product, with safes it definitely is. The more expensive the safe is, the stronger it’s doors and body are, the thicker the metal is, and these safes contain materials that can blunt drills, cutting tools, and even disperse heat. Cheap safes, on the other hand, can be opened with the strike of a skilled hand – think about cost as a measure of how expensive the materials are, and with how much care they are constructed.


Safes should be Hidden

Make sure to conceal safes; by hiding it, any burglar will have to find it before even being able to attempt to enter it – making it even less likely that they will be able to steal from you. An even greater security tactic is to hide the safe in the floor or within a wall – this will cover up it’s weaker sides, and allow you to hide it in a way that most people wouldn’t be able to see.


The more inaccessible the safe is, the better it’s hidden

The most secure safes are the one’s that are hardest to access – any safes that are made invisible, or even inaccessible, requiring some kind of advanced exhumation are completely protected from the average thief. This is the best possible way of hiding a safe – however if it’s a safe you want regular access to, this strategy might prove inconvenient, if superiorly secure.


Safes can be cut

This is why adding additional layers of concealment is such a good strategy. Although a quality safe will be protected from the average criminal, if you’re handling something truly priceless, you may be dealing with a more advanced level of burglar. It’s worth it to bear in mind that even Diamonds and Steel can be cut with the right tools – so it’s important to keep your investments secure by not only investing in the highest quality safe, but by making it as hard to access as possible.


How Criminals can Break into Safes

We are all familiar with the cinematic trope of the burglar cracking the safe by using a stethoscope to listen for the clicks – this isn’t really that common. Most criminals aren’t lockpicking experts – they are mostly concerned with getting out of there as quickly as possible. The majority of thieves will steal the entire safe; the common approach to mitigate this risk is to bolt the safe directly to the floor. This should never be done,a s then the thief can use the floor’s leverage to pry open the door of the safe with a crowbar. Expensive safes made of strong material can be broken into using angle grinders or torches – advanced and uncommon equipment, but equipment that is surely out there in the world. Whether you have a safe in your hallway closet or in a bank, they are not completely impervious – making the importance of concealment and deterrents an even more pressing issue.



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Strategies to Prevent Getting Locked Out

lock out

There’s no way around the fact that being locked out of anywhere – your home, your office, your car – simply stinks. It’s a major waste of time, and a major stress boost. However, if you prepare in the proper fashion you’re never going to get locked out again. Here’s a list of strategies key-holders can implement to prevent getting locked out; simply choose which of them works for you, and apply it to your life, to avoid ever having to deal with a lockout.

Check your Purse, Pat your Pockets

Before you leave your house (or anywhere for that matter) check to see if you have all your essential items with you. You want to make sure that you have your phone, wallet, and keys. Depending on how you dress this might be a matter of checking all your pockets, or looking inside a purse, messenger bag, or backpack. This technique prevents forgetting keys, or any items you may need.

Keep a Spare Key

NOT UNDER A FAKE ROCK. We recommend leaving an extra key at a friend or neighbor’s house that you can use in emergencies. If you choose to hide the key on your property, hide it in a very inconvenient place. Seek an area that’s secure or not easily seen. If you decide to hide your key under a plant, or even the aforementioned fake rock, make sure that there are other plants or rocks on your property, so your hiding spot won’t be as conspicuous.

Keep your Keys in the same spot

Don’t simply leave your keys on any random surface. Try assigning a specific pocket to keep keys in so that you can always know where they are. Don’t ever just leave them out in the open, and if you lend them to a friend, make sure to get them back.

Call a Locksmith

If you find yourself truly locked out, you should contact a locksmith. This is an option to be exercised instead of trying to manually break into your door or window – irrational actions that will compromise the future security of your home – not to mention what’s in your wallet. Locksmiths provide a more affordable and rational way to restore your entry back to your property.

Replace Shoddy Locks

If your lock isn’t working properly, you can get locked out even if you remember your keys. Even if a shoddy lock opens and shuts, the continued use of it will damage keys over time to the point of rendering them unusable. If a key breaks inside a lock, even having a  spare won’t help. Avoid being stranded on your porch by making sure your locks work correctly.

Don’t Duplicate ‘Do Not Duplicate’ Keys

The more that you copy keys that aren’t meant to be copied, the farther the copied keys will be from the quality of the original. If you keep copying ‘Do Not Duplicate’ keys, you might realize one day that the new key doesn’t work at all. That’s the reason all spare keys should be copied from the original, not copies.


At least one of these strategies should help you ensure that you’re not standing outside helplessly locked out. It’s important to consider any potential security flaws of your home and tailor a specific strategy directly to your needs. Make sure to take the necessary precautions to both keep your home safe, and to ensure that you can access it whenever you want.


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Locksmith License in Maryland



Becoming a locksmith in Maryland isn’t the easiest thing to do. Being a locksmith requires significant training, certification, licensing and professionalism. There are a number of hurdles the locksmith-to-be must face. If you didn’t know about them, we will lay them out here so that you may have a better grasp on the profession. Or, that you may be able to assist someone entering the vocation one day.


Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

To become a locksmith always lead through the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. With the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation on must include both a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and a Certificate of Good Standing. This comes with an application that you receive through them. It sounds much more technical than it really is. They are pretty basic forms overall.

The next thing which needs to be submitted is a background check along with proof of fingerprinting. These steps are to ensure obvious precautions. The fingerprinting and the background check must be done at locations approved by the state. To find a location that suits you, you can visit the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. You must also submit a Central Repository Livescan Pre-Registration Application prior to your fingerprinting appointment.

Lastly, you will need to provide your licensing fee of $225. Not all training cost money but, only pay when the DLLR sends you an invoice when you’ve been approved. Undesirable fines result from practicing without taking these measures and precautions.



In Maryland, there are several ways to obtain official locksmith certification. One can do online programs, go to a community college or enroll in a trade school. Usually programs take no longer than a year (or two semesters). During this time the applicant or trainee must prove that they can not only perform standard operations but they are well-kept and ethically inclined. A good program will refuse those who don’t meet these standards.

Some of the standard locksmithing knowledge your program should offer:

Because of a bill passed in 2009, the HB370, all locksmiths must now be fully licensed to work in the state of Maryland. The criteria for a locksmith may seem like a lot, but it’s only because nothing was in place before the law that would ensure one’s locksmith was legitimate. Thanks to this law the resulting vocation and security business has a higher profile and community recognition. Although becoming a locksmith in Maryland is more difficult it’s stringent policies are creating excellence and model for other states.


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How to Protect Yourself During a Home Invasion

 home invasion

Many burglars don’t operate in their right minds. Inherently the act displays a lot of desperation. Around 50% of burglars commit this crime fueled by their need to obtain drugs. The rest of the percentage is comprised of many reasons. Whatever the reason might be, home invasions happen and they’re very dangerous. The best solution in a home invasion is to have a plan. Having a plan increases your chance to come out of the situation in a fortuitous and safer way. Here are a few suggestions you should consider to prepare yourself.



When you’ve deduced that the person of entry is in fact a burglar, remain calm. Your main concern is your safety and the safety of others around you. Listen to where the burglar may be in the home and try to call the police as soon as possible. If you’re alone, secure yourself in one room. Refrain from confronting the burglar if you can. If you’re not alone, be prepared to defend yourself or others with a weapon or something like a baseball bat. The fact of the matter is that this person is in your home and maybe inclined to do you harm to get at their goal. Also, be prepared for multiple people in your home.

Tip: Keeping your car keys by your nightstand can help you. If a break in happens the panic button on a car can shock and deter a burglar from swiping your possessions. That is, if the panic button reaches your automobile from your location.


Talk the Burglar(s) Down

If you can safely communicate with the burglar, do so. Let them know that the police are on the way and that their escape or refusal to vacate the premises will be met with police reinforcement. Be prepared that this may anger the burglar. It’s very likely that they’re not thinking properly. When you try to talk the burglar down, be firm. Don’t alter your position: they’re not allowed in your home and have little to no say in the situation.


Dont let your dog sick em

Your dog may have alerted you that your home is being invaded, but burglars aren’t opposed to killing or severely injuring a dog that comes at them to protect you. If you can restrain your dog, do so unless the burglar approaches you directly. In that case, let your dog attempt to protect you. The more support you have on your end the better. Just plan your moves to strategically help you in this situation.


Dont show youre vulnerable

Screaming, crying, panicking out loud shows you’re behaving in a vulnerable way. Refrain from showing the burglar that you’re not a threat to them.



In the event that a burglar breaks into your home and you need to protect yourself and those around you, be prepared to use your gun. Knowing the lock combination or safe combination for a gun can mean life or death. In the event of a panic you may forget these things. Try not to panic. Know where your ammunition is, know that you have a working gun and know that you can and have used it confidentially. This is the worst case scenario. If you’ve had self-defense classes prepare yourself to use your knowledge and practice here. If a burglary comes to this, it’s most unfortunate, but instill that you’re on the side with the best protection if needed, and take up anything that may be able to protect you in this event.


The following tips on home security has been giving Top Locksmith Service 




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What To Consider When Buying A Safe


Even consider buying a safe?  Safes are named so for a reason.  They protect the inanimate items that are most important to you.

As you grow older, you find yourself in possession of more and more expensive and important things.  It may be your grandmother’s diamonds, passed down for generations in the family.  It might be a USB drive with company secrets which would be damaging if it got into rival hands.  Whatever it is, you have to ensure its protection.  What’s the best way to do so?  Buy a safe.

There are a number of questions you should ask before you buy a safe.  You have to consider the situation and consider its placement.  If you are protecting things like jewelry then your safe should probably be installed in your home.  If you are trying to hide work documents and flash drives, install it in your office.

What exactly is it that you are trying to protect when buying a safe?  Did you recently purchase guns?  If so, you may want a gun safe.  Are you storing jewelry?  Then consider jewelry safes that have preset jewelry holders inside.

Then you will want to think about what you want to protect the items from.  Fire-proof safes can withstand extreme heat.  Waterproof safes prevent water damage.  Data safes will protect digital data against corruption.  If you are worried about burglars, you can get a burglary safe which is resistant against break-ins.

For extra security, you can get a wall safe or a floor safe.  These safes are installed into the wall and the floor respectively and can be hidden by a painting or a rug.  No one will know the difference.  Safes usually come in a range of sizes, so decide where you want to put it before you purchase the safe.  If it is going into the drawer of your desk, you’ll probably want something smaller than a safe you would hide in the back of your closet.

Top Locksmith Service

Once you have a good idea of the type of safe you want, give Top Locksmith Service a call!  Servicing D.C. and Maryland for nearly 20 years, we are a name you can trust with your safe installation.  Give us a call and we will answer any questions you have.  We will walk through every aspect of our safes so that you can be sure you are getting the safe right for you.  Our professionals are highly trained, and once you have picked your safe, they will install it for you quickly and efficiently.  Whether you need one installed in a residential home or an office, we are here to help.

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