FEMA Says Thousands Of Locks Have The Same Keys - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

FEMA Says Thousands Of Locks Have The Same Keys

A new worry for the thousands of people living in FEMA trailers. The key to your trailer could very well open dozens of others. Federal officials announced on Monday that they are working to replace the locks on up to 118,000 trailers in use in Mississippi and Louisiana after residents in two Baton Rouge FEMA parks found a single key could open up to 50 different locks.

Residents there say they made FEMA aware of the problem weeks ago and over the weekend FEMA worked to get many locks there replaced. 

Colleen O'Neal held up the keys that get her inside the only home she has since Katrina, a FEMA trailer in Biloxi.

"People are worried about the few things they have left. And now a key situation?"

Nervous hers is one of the 30,000 Mississippi trailers can be opened by more than one key, O'Neal asked several neighbors if she could use her key to get their doors to open. None did, but that brought her little comfort.

O'Neal said, "Why in the world would you want to tell everybody the keys fit other trailers when you've got so much crime now as it is? It scares me to be asleep at night and somebody trying to come in the trailer. It's really scary."

FEMA sees it differently. A spokesperson says after it discovered problems with trailer locks, FEMA decided to take a proactive approach to finding a solution."

"We have found out that the manufacturers only provide a certain number of combinations for the locks," said Cheryl Brekke, a FEMA Spokesperson. "In finding that out, we've chosen to make it so that they have a two key lock rather than a one key lock to provide some extra safety."

Colleen O'Neal says she knows that with so many trailers, the chance of a thief placing the right key in the right lock is highly unlikely. Still, she says, she doesn't like being in the lottery.

"My worry is losing the few things I've accumulated since the storm, which isn't much."

FEMA is asking people who want their trailer locks changed to call 1-866-877-6075 to be put on the waiting list. A spokesperson says so far there haven't been any reports in Mississippi of people misusing keys.

by Danielle Thomas

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