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What is an FB key?

Ever wanted to know what’s inside those big, yellow rock salt bins that you sometimes find in public places? Ever needed to get into a meter cupboard in the corridor of your apartment building? What about gaining access to a bin area in a large development?

The answer to many of these things is, often, an FB key!

“An F-what key?”

FB stands for Fire Brigade. The London Fire Brigade designed several standard keys and locks for people to put in certain communal areas, so that firemen can enter easily in case of an emergency.

FB locks are so useful that loads of people now use them to make life easier for binmen and other tradespeople.

Where are they used?

Picture this: you’re the facilities manager for the local railway line. The weather forecast for the next few days is pretty cold, and it might even snow.

You have tasked your team with putting grit on all the walkways at every station to prevent the floor from becoming icy. Problem is, your colleagues keep losing the keys to the grit box. You have just one key, but don’t have enough time to go to every single station yourself.

The solution? An FB1 padlock! FB1 is a standard FB padlock. If someone loses a key, you can easily get a new one from any locksmith shop without even needing to bring them a key to copy. You can even get them online.

What are the drawbacks?

There aren’t that many drawbacks, realistically. FB locks are there for low-security applications: pretty much just bin areas, meter cupboards and on rock salt bins. The main issue with FB locks on bin stores is that, if a homeless person knows their stuff, they might be able to get in there and live in the bin area. Nobody is likely to steal a sack of grit, though!

They’re immensely practical for maintenance teams, tradesmen and locksmiths.

All that said, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t put one on your front door! They’re usually just cheap, basic two-lever locks.

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