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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Abu Dhabi locksmith is key in saving lives

Few would expect the profession to involve close cooperation with our emergency services to help save the lives of residents trapped in apartments, children locked in overheating cars or a host of other dangerous situations.
Mahran Al Azhari, a keymaker, pictured at the Prince of Keys shop, is one of the city’s oldest key duplicators. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Mahran Al Azhari, a keymaker, pictured at the Prince of Keys shop, is one of the city’s oldest key duplicators. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

ABU DHABI // A locksmith’s life is more heroic than you may think.

They can, and do, in fact play a part in saving lives.

How, you may ask. Well, it is locksmiths the emergency services call on when there are perilous situations such as children locked in overheating cars or residents in danger trapped in locked flats.

Rasool Al Hosami, from Syria, has been a key-maker in the UAE for 18 years.

“Sometimes, the police contact us when they find a child locked in the car,” Mr Al Hosami, 40, says. “In Ramadan, at 2pm, I got a call from the police saying that an eight-month-old baby was locked in a car.”

The child’s mother left the key inside the car when she went to get some belongings from the boot and the car automatically locked.

“In five minutes I reached her and it took me two minutes to open the lock,” he said. “If we had broken the window of the car the baby would have be terrified.”

Mr Al Hosami spent four years learning his craft after he arrived in the UAE then started his own business.

In an another incident, he rescued a two-year-old and four-month-old who were locked inside a flat.

“One child was sitting beside the door, while another was inside the room, so if you break the door you could have hurt the child,” he said.

Such cases are not uncommon. “About eight such cases for both occur in a year,” he said.

Mr Al Hosami’s runs three shops in Abu Dhabi and employs 15 people.

His stores are authorised by Abu Dhabi Police and he is always cautious when duplicating customer’s keys to ensure there is no foul play.

“Here, we take Emirates Identity cards before copying keys from locals and professionals including engineers and doctors. If a driver, worker, cleaner, housemaid, cook and farmworker ask for duplicate keys, we don’t do that without a certificate of no objection,” he said.

It takes less than a minute to duplicate a key. He has five machines that can copy the key.

He charges Dh10 to Dh15 for copying regular keys and between Dh100 and Dh200 for car keys, depending on the locking system technology and sensors they use.

“This needs lots of precision and adaptation of new technology as a small mistake will spoil everything,” he said.

Syrian locksmith Mahran Al Azhari said the expatriat community kept him and his fellow tradesmen busy.

Expatriates on the move often need additional keys, he said, also those who are sharing accommodation.

For example, if a room is being shared by five or 10 people they may need 10 keys, he said.

The 33-year-old also stressed the need for security caution when cutting keys.

“We take IDs but we won’t make duplicate keys for safe boxes,” Mr Al Azhari said.

“If the person insists it belongs to him or her, we ask for a police letter.”

anwar@thenational.ae