Thread: Lock Boxes

  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    east Liverpool

    Default Lock Boxes

    Our department is lookinmg into lok boxes on commerical buildings. Would like to hear from anyone with pros or cons with the boxes and how did the building owners respond to them. [*]null

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    erie, pa, usa


    The City of Erie has used a lock box ever since I can remember--it utilizes the Gamewell fire alarm box key (since we still have a very good operating fire alarm box system). These lock boxes are attached near the main entrance of the building--usually apartment buildings or other large commercial buildings that may be occupied 24 hours a day (such as a hospital, business, or industrial shop) or even for part of the 24 hour period.
    In Millcreek Township (just outside of the City), the Knox box system has been used since 1995. One key (finally--used to be each fire district had their own key) to fit all boxes of five different fire districts. This system seems to work well with the exception of one type of situation. Yesterday, a VFD responded to an ADT alarm, opened the lock box and found out the key for the front door of the business did not work. Since the management team was on site (but not waiting near the entrance for the VFD), the VFD was able to access the building after pounding on the aluminum framed plate glass doors. Before the VFD crew left the scene, the management placed a "working" key into the box and the VFD officer relocked the box. The management team did not call the VFD when locks were changed--if the management crew would not have been on site one of two situations would have been done: 1) force the door using a K-tool or 2)await the arrival of a management team member.
    These systems work well--only problem is making sure that keys are updated in the boxes.
    If you have questions regarding security of these keys on the apparatus--Knox box has a security system which is radio tone activated for accessing the key on that one particular apparatus.
    I hope that this gets the ball rolling.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Houston area


    We are (finally) implementing a rapid access system where I volunteer. We are using a Knox system. Our first step is to have keyswitches installed at gates of all apartments and gated communities (about 30 places). Eventually we may expand to lock boxes at commercial buildings as well. The key switches will allow us to bypass gate codes and allow us to keep the gates open for as long as we need. So far no property owners have been against the idea, although it's taking some time to get them to go to the trouble to get through all the red tape of their management. We're lucky in that if we do encounter any resistance we have a new law passed recently that mandates gated complexes in the county to provide rapid access devices at the gates. Hopefully, everyone will get on board without having to resort to the enforcemant of this new law. Knox has some good systems, you can check it out at
    web page
    These are my opinions and not those of the organizations for which I work and/or volunteer.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    New Jersey


    We have ben using lock box es since 1987 with great success. FOr all commericial and business, we request to have the boxes placed. We assist in the numbers of key required to make the box work for the FD and locate to proper position based on buildign features. We employ a strictly voluntary program. Exception is where the Fire Code Requires such boxes. Next town over requires all buildings to have lock box.

    We are running about 80+ compliance with owners. We have had a few tells us in no uncertain terms would they allow the FD to have keys to the building. Overall, works great.

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