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FEMA: Trailer locks a security risk

Concern raised after one key opens too many doors

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FEMA trailers have become temporary homes for many Gulf Coast residents such as in Waveland, Mississippi.

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NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- As many as 110,000 trailers housing hurricane victims on the U.S. Gulf Coast may need additional locks after the discovery that one key can be used to open many of the temporary homes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

FEMA has had no reports of trailer break-ins because of the duplicate locks, agency spokesman Aaron Walker said Monday.

But as a precaution FEMA workers will add a second lock to the homes and increase security at trailer group sites.

The agency asked trailer residents to be "extra vigilant" and work together to promote a neighborhood watch, according to a FEMA statement.

The federal agency buys trailers from 13 manufacturers, but each unit is fitted with one of three types of locks, Walker said.

Last week, FEMA also announced it will begin testing its trailers for toxic levels of formaldehyde after people in the trailers complained of sickness and local officials and environmental groups raised concerns.

FEMA has been roundly criticized for its delayed response to Hurricane Katrina, which pummeled the Gulf Coast last year.

One of those criticisms included allowing more than 10,000 empty FEMA trailers to sit in Arkansas in the months after Katrina while hurricane victims scrambled for temporary housing.

FEMA Director Mike Brown resigned last September after coming under fire over his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Katrina's destruction.

The agency's new director, David Paulison, has acknowledged significant logistics and communications problems during the hurricane and its aftermath.

CNN's Susan Roesgen contributed to this report.

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