“Holiday decorations pose safety risk for aircraft pilots”

Holiday decorations pose safety risk for aircraft pilots

We know we usually cover locksmith news here, but we thought we’d share this story since the holidays are upon us and most of us are affected by the safety risks of holiday decorations.

Your holiday decor could be a safety hazard … for pilots.

Consumers who purchased “Star Shower,” a plug-in laser light projector, should probably read the product’s directions. The decoration may help you “illuminate your house in a matter of seconds,” but it can also be a blinding hazard to pilots, according to an NBC affiliate.

“You experience what’s called a flash blindness,” Sgt. Morrie Zager, a helicopter pilot for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told NBC. “Everything goes away except green. The worst part about it is the pain. It can cause anything from a mild distraction to a complete incapacitation of the pilot resulting in the aircraft crashing.”

The Star Shower device, produced by Telebrands, meets FDA regulations and Consumer Product Safety standards. It also carries a warning for users not to point the device directly at the sky and not to activate it within 10 nautical miles of an airport — several incidents have been reported in recent months.

Most notably, on Nov. 18, a Star Shower projector shined into the cockpit of a C-130 Coast Guard plane as it flew over Sacramento, California. While no one was harmed or charged in this incident, pointing a laser at a plane or chopper is considered a crime and could result in prison time and upward of $250,000 in fines.

Star Shower makers told the NBC affiliate that its product is compliant with FAA regulations for lasers — but emphasized the decoration should be pointed directly at your home, never directly into the sky.

Originally posted on CNBC.com

Protect Yourself and Your Purchases This Holiday Season

We are just a week shy of the Christmas holiday. As with every year, the winter season has us doing our holiday shopping right after Thanksgiving and continuing in full swing until the end of the year. Since there are so many people out on the road and going to and from stores, there leaves a lot of vulnerability between you, your personal belongings, and your purchases – both those you carry with you and leave in your car. In order to effectively “shop defensively” this holiday season, please keep this list of reminders at hand, so you can shop safely and consciously:

Avoid Being a Target for Burglars

  • Always shop with a friend. You are more likely to become a target if you are alone.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area.
  • Wear your purse or bag across your body. This way your hands will be free for your keys when you head to your car.
  • Combine your purchases into one bag, if possible.


Be Alert at All Times

  • Walk briskly to your car. Avoid talking or texting on your phone, or digging into your bag for your keys while walking.
  • Have your keys ready in your hand while walking toward your vehicle.

In Your Car

  • Keep your purchases out of sight in your parked car to prevent break-ins.
  • Check your back seat for potential burglars before getting into your car.

On the Web

  • Use credit, not debit. Credit cards offer much better protection against fraud than most debit cards.
  • When shopping online, verify the website’s URL and shop only from known retailers. There are websites out there that are created to look like real storefronts, but are instead scams and spoofed websites that may steal your personal information.
  • Be sure your anti-virus program is up-to-date. Shop at home and not on public Wi-Fi networks, such as at cafes, libraries or airports.

Remember to stay alert even during daytime shopping hours. Crimes aren’t restricted to night hours and can occur at any time. We hope that, with these tips, you’ll have a fun, productive and, most importantly, safe holiday season.

The History of Home Security

During the holidays, we’re reminded of the historical first Thanksgiving. Just as almost everything that exists today has a history, the same can be said for home security and the locksmith industry. We’ll be talking briefly about this history and give you some ideas on how better to secure your own home in the process.

At some point in time, people began to believe their possessions had value. From then on, home security became important to ancient humans. Although prehistoric humans, most likely, slept in caves or trees to protect themselves from nighttime predators, it soon became necessary to protect their possessions as well. However, the threat to home security did not come from just animals, but from other humans.

Early Locks in Walled Cities

Later, as time went by, prehistoric humans moved out of caves and into walled cities. And around 2,000 BC, the Egyptians invented what become known as the first “lock”. These early locks used a pin system based on the same principles as modern pin tumbler locks.

However, these early locks needed a large key to operate. The average key size during these times was 13 to 14 inches long, while keys to important public buildings or city gates could be two feet or longer. These early keys were signs of authority. Those who possessed them carried the keys on their shoulders.

The Barron is Introduced

By the 15th century, France had become the epicenter of lock making. But, the French chateau locks and chest locks were susceptible to burglars because their designs were similar to ancient Egyptian locks and were, therefore, becoming easier to pick.

Lock security got an update with an English lock known as the Barron. The Barron was patented in 1778. It was quickly replaced by the Bramah lock and the Chubb lock. These locks were considered unpickable, but eventually succumbed to lock pickers.

In the late 19th century, Linus Yale, Jr. developed the modern pin-tumbler type locking mechanism, which is still in use today. It has undergone many changes to enhance security, though nearly every improvement has been overcome by lock pickers. Because of these, lock companies continue to make changes to prevent burglars.

Protect Your Home and Business This Holiday Season

Today, the average thief rarely picks a lock. Instead, they force their way in using crowbars, screwdrivers, hammers and rocks. Although these techniques are not very sophisticated, they are quite effective.

Personal and physical security should be a top priority for every homeowner and business owner. Good quality locks and strong doors are excellent burglar deterrents. Security lighting, grills, and screens and fencing are also extremely effective in thwarting burglars.

So, take a cue from our ancestors and take steps to secure your home and business. To learn more, contact Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville today at 904-246-4590.

Install a Door Lock with the Help of Pop-A-Lock Locksmith

Have you moved into a new home recently? Perhaps you have been an unfortunate victim of burglary? If so, you may want to replace all of your locks for newer and stronger locks. But how exactly do you install a lock? With the help of Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville, of course!

install door lock
Install a home lock system

Passing off this task of door lock installation is a good idea because professional Jacksonville locksmiths like us should be the first person you call for the task. Pop-A-Lock is trained in all manner of lock and security services – whether you need a simply key duplication or need to install state of the art closed-circuit television systems (CCTV).

Getting a door lock installed isn’t as expensive as you might think, although some of the newer technology and elaborate locks may cost a little more money. And if one of your locks was broken with force, significant repairs should be made to your door and lock system, which could also add more to the total bill.

Here at Pop-A-Lock, we use a wide range of tools, specialty locks and key systems. We carry some of the newest technology and designs, deadbolts, chain locks and electronic security locks. In addition to home security, remember that your car has locks too! Car locks are more challenging and difficult to replace yourself, so calling on us is definitely the way to go. Most of the time, installing a car door lock involves taking apart the door. So unless you’ve highly skilled with automobiles, give us a call!

Whether you’re installing new locks for your home or car, we’ll make sure you have the best lock for your situation to keep you, your family, and your valuables safe. If you have any questions about your home or car lock system in Jacksonville, please call us at 904-246-4590.

Jacksonville Residential Locksmith: Home Locks 101

Spring-Bolt-Lock-Jacksonsville Locksmith
A Key-In-The-Knob Spring Bolt Lock

A burglary takes place in the U.S. every 14 seconds, and the average loss per burglary is almost $2,000. Did you know that most burglars still get in through your front or back doors? Upgrading your home locks is a small investment with major payoffs. If you’re not sure what kind of locks are currently protecting your home in Jacksonville, take a look at the major types of locks to see what’s on your door — and how well it works.

Spring bolt locks

If your usual routine involves sticking a key in a door knob and turning the knob, you most likely have a spring bolt lock. Also known as key-in-the-knob locks, spring bolt locks are extremely common. The bolt is spring loaded and can be manually pushed in. Another giveaway that you have a spring bolt lock is if you can lock the door and then pull it shut behind you. The spring lets the bolt retract when it hits the door jamb. Unfortunately, spring bolt locks, while convenient, are not very secure. If there’s any gap between the door and the door frame, a burglar can simply push the bolt to retract it and then open the door. Spring bolt locks also make it easier to lock yourself out.

Schlage-Deadbolt-Jacksonville Locksmith
A Schlage Deadbolt



Deadbolts are more secure than spring bolt locks because the lock cylinder must be rotated in order to retract the bolt, most commonly with a key on the outside and a thumb-turn on the inside. A half deadbolt is invisible from the outside (and therefore has no key way to be picked or bumped) and locks with a thumb-turn on the inside, making it a good way to stay secure while at home and overnight. A double deadbolt requires a key on either side to lock or unlock the door. If you currently only have a spring lock on your door, adding a deadbolt will deter thieves and increase your security.


Schlage-Keypad-Lock-JacksonvilleElectronic access / keypad locks

Once reserved for commercial buildings, electronic access locks are now available for homes. These locks use an electric current to lock and unlock. Although you’ve probably seen electric locks at hotels that operate with cards, residential locks usually have number pads. Enter the right code, and you’re in. One major advantage: if you ever need to keep out someone who has the code, you won’t need to hire a locksmith to rekey your locks. You can just change the code. Pop-A-Lock of Jacksonville offers electronic, biometric, and many other digital locks.

Bump resistant / bump proof locks

About 90% of American residential locks can be ‘bumped’ open with a modified key blank and very little effort. If you haven’t upgraded your locks within the last 5 years or so, your lock is most likely vulnerable to bumping. Fortunately, lock makers have gotten with the program and now offer locks that are sturdier and more resistant to bumping and picking. Bump proof locks come in all sizes, shapes, and finishes. Some can be retrofitted into your existing lockset. Burglars go for easy targets; don’t let your house stay one!

Do you have questions about your home locks? Call Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville today for a home security audit. We are a full-service automotive, residential, and commercial locksmith in Jacksonville!