Not only do we get callouts for people locked out of their house, we get callouts for people locked IN their house. Our most common callout is for a child who has managed to lock themselves in the toilet, and can’t work out how to unlock it. Normally there is panic on both sides of the door, and the child is either too young or too frantic to listen to instructions.
Recently we had one such call in Carlton.
We got the call around 2pm, Mr 2 had locked himself in the toilet, and could not get out. Apparently the young chap was insistent on using the big toilet, not the potty, and he likewise insisted on his privacy. You go young fellah. Problem was, his folks had just done a reno, and the locking mechanism for the toilet door had been changed from one where you slide it from left to right / right to left… to one where you twisted the lock mechanism clockwise or anticlockwise.
The poor little guy, was trying to slide the lock, and couldn’t work out he needed to twist it, not slide it. Mum rings us frantic, little man is almost hysterical and she has to leave to pick up big brothers and sister from school in 30 minutes. We needed to get there fast, and get in faster.
To the uninitiated, a toilet door locked from the inside where the person inside cannot open it seems an impossible task. There is no key on the outside in most cases… so how to unlock such a door? Some doors are set with hinges on the outside, so you can simply lift the door off the hinges and your solution is found. In this case, the hinges were on the inside(note to self, find out who the guys were who did that… it’s really not a great way to do it. If someone injures themselves in the toilet, you really want to be able to get access fast…) so they were no help, next we turned to the lock.
Now most bathroom and toilet door locks are in place to ensure privacy, not security, so whilst there is no key on the outside, there is often a small hole, or mechanism that can be accessed with a tiny screwdriver, that will release the lock. This lock had one, but it was faulty. We had tried to talk mum through it and had thought she was just too panicked to make it happen, but in fact the lock itself was no good. We were however, able to dismantle the lock from the outside and get the little guy out in about 3 minutes.
We came back the next day, and fitted better privacy locks and we even stayed for a few minutes to show Mr 2. How to work them. I took a couple of the office stamps with me, and gave him some stamps on his hands as a reward for his good learning.
We left behind, a very pleased mum, and even more please Mr 2.
My advice if you have young kids, that you really show them how to use the bathroom locks, and you checkout your bathroom and toilet locks so you can see how they can be opened in an emergency. If your toilet door hinges are not on the outside, with the door opening outwards… consider sorting this. If someone passes out in the toilet and falls against a locked toilet door? A locksmith will be able to get the door unlocked, but with the person lying prone against it, opening it might be another matter.