In any large property, whether it be a factory, military base, school or multifamily community, the danger of lost keys is an ongoing concern. Unfortunately, key loss happens all the time, usually due to poor organization, human error or both. Every time it happens, your building becomes more vulnerable. When high security is required, locks must be changed whenever a key turns up missing — a costly prospect. Electronic card keys can mitigate this risk because they can be programmed to expire, but few management companies have the money to transition all doors and locks to card keys. So how can you prevent key loss, or at least make the risk more manageable? Here are four tips to help out:
1. Set up an established protocol
One of the best ways to keep keys from wandering off is to have an established system in place for managing them. If you and your staff always know where the keys are kept and how to check them in and out, the rate of key loss is reduced significantly, simply because you always know where the keys are supposed to be.
2. Implement a tracking system
Of course, having a key check-in/check-out system is only part of the solution here. The other piece is to have a tracking system in place — an auditing system by which you document who has which keys, for what purpose, when they checked them out, when the keys are due back, and when they actually get checked in. This way, you can quickly identify anomalies in the patterns, and if a key does go missing, you’ll always know who had it last and can trace it back to the point at which it was dropped.
3. Store keys securely
When keys are not in use, they should themselves be kept locked in a safe place. The worst type of key loss is the one in which keys are left out and “lifted” by someone who has no business with them. Keep keys safe, and restrict access so only authorized people can get to them.
4. Train your staff
Whatever protocol you set in place for key management, make sure your entire team is trained in how to access keys, how to check them out and in, and how to carry the keys when they have them. The more consistently the protocol is practiced, the easier it is to detect unusual behaviors — and of course, the fewer keys are lost due to oversight or negligence.
There’s only so much you can do to offset human error, and even with the best systems in place, you might still lose a key from time to time. However, these tips can go a long way toward preventing key loss or reducing the occurrences of it. For more information on effective key control, contact HandyTrac today.