Will Firefighters Unlock My Car? (the truth)


One of the most hassling occurrences in life is locking your keys in the car. Yet, everyone has done it at least once or twice. But while some people call for Triple-A or a locksmith company, others dial for their local fire department. Will firefighters unlock your car, though?

It is unlikely that the fire department will unlock your car. While every city has its own rules and regulations, most firefighters will refer you to the police, an insurance company, locksmith, or towing service to get keys out – unless it’s an emergency. If a person or animal is stuck inside, or the car is running in a confined space, they will unlock your vehicle.

If you’re considering giving your local fire department a ring the next time you lock your keys in your car, keep reading. Below, I’m sharing essential information, such as whether or not firefighters will unlock your vehicle and in which circumstances a firefighter would provide unlocking services.

Will the Fire Department Unlock Car?

Nine times out of ten, the fire department will not unlock a car if you accidentally leave your keys inside. They are far more likely to direct you to a company or service that can help.

For example, Triple-A and other insurance providers, a local locksmith, or even a tow truck company. 

However, every city has its own laws and regulations regarding unlocking services. So, while it is highly unlikely that the fire department will unlock your car, there’s no harm in calling and asking. 

Circumstances Where the Fire Department Will Unlock Car

Although the fire department will likely give you information on who to call to unlock your car, that doesn’t mean they always redirect callers. There are a few circumstances where the fire department will unlock someone’s car. 

Someone is Locked Inside

Anyone locked inside a car – especially children – can succumb to heat stroke rather quickly. Getting the vehicle unlocked and retrieving the individual swiftly is imperative to ensure their safety.

In a circumstance such as this, the fire department will help, as other services will likely take far too long, which could be detrimental.

An Animal is Locked Inside

Animals are entirely unable to open locked car doors on their own from the inside. That said, an animal trapped inside a locked car – either by accident or by negligence from the owner – requires assistance to escape. In such situations, the local fire department will help unlock the car and retrieve the animal.

The Car is Running in a Confined Space

If the car is on, the keys are locked inside, and the vehicle is located in a confined space such as a garage or storage shed, the fire department will likely help unlock the car.

That’s because vehicles emit carbon monoxide, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning and, eventually, death. 

What Do Firefighters Use to Open Car Doors?

If the fire department deems that unlocking your car is paramount to someone’s health (human or animal), the likely course of action is to break a window.

The chosen window will be furthest from the person or animal to keep them safe yet still allow access for the firefighter to unlock the car.

This is why non-emergency situations are redirected to companies that provide unlocking services.

That way, you’re only paying for your car to be unlocked rather than spending more considerable sums of money on a new car window.

Does the Fire Department Charge to Unlock My Car?

In an emergency situation where the fire department must unlock a car for one’s safety, no, they do not charge.

However, it’s worth noting that while there is no fee for unlocking the car door, the payment comes out of the taxes that residents of the city pay.

So, while it’s not an upfront fee, you’re still paying for it in another way.

Will the Fire Department Unlock My House?

When it comes to your home, it’s usually the same situation. The fire department will not unlock your house unless there is a severe emergency – such as a fire.

You will need to call a professional unlocking service to get your door opened.

However, many cities have what is known as a “residential knox box”. This is a small box that secured to the outside of your home.

Inside the box, is your house key. But, the only way to access the key inside is from a specific key that only the fire department has access to.

That way if you are ever locked out or you have a family member of limited mobility, the fire department will be able to gain access to the home without damaging any doors or windows.

Where I work, there are many homes with residential knox boxes. Call your local fire department to see if they have that program in your area.

Also, you should check out this article I wrote about whether the fire department can break into your house.

Firefighters Only Unlock Cars in Emergency Situations

Unless it’s an emergency – such as a person or animal is locked in the car, or it’s running in a confined space – it’s best to call your insurance company, local locksmith, or tow truck company to unlock your car.

That’s because the fire department is not typically involved in unlocking vehicles unless it’s an emergency situation that could cause injury or death.

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