View Poll Results: Does your Department use lockboxes or master keys, etc?

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  • We have keys, thank goodness

    22 75.86%
  • We have keys, but I wish we didn't

    1 3.45%
  • We don't have keys, but I wish we did

    1 3.45%
  • We don't have keys, thank goodness

    5 17.24%
  1. #1
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    RLFD14's Avatar
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    Question Do you use lockboxes?

    Issue came up when it was determined that a new apartment building in our district is a privacy complex, meaning you can't get through the front door into the lobby and reach any of the rooms unless you have a key or someone buzzes you in. The apartment management wants to give us a master key, but we kind of don't want it because we don't want it stored on the rig in our unmanned station and be responsible for whatever might happen to it. We don't keep keys or access codes or combinations to any facility, public or private, in our district. We end up waiting for keyholders or forcing entry, but the municipality and department want to avoid any and all liability risks with having the "keys to the city".

    Trying to get a sampling to see if this is common or if we are unusual in this regard.... your thoughts solicited and welcomed. Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    We set up lock boxes in our community. They all have the same key thus reducing the number of keys we need to carry. Keys are secure in the trucks. Unmanned station is alarmed and police arent far away. Beats breaking in a door for a mundane reason (fun - but costly). Any business that wants to give us keys, we tell them to buy a lock box, also the lock box can store MSDS sheets.
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  3. #3
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    We use Knox Box. Master key is secured in engine and several businesses and schools have knox boxes. Buldings that are alarmed and not staffed 24 hours a day are recommended to install knox box. Should we get dispatched to one of those facilities while they are closed, we can make entry and take appropriate action. Fire department gets bad rap if you beat the door down and cause many $$$ damage for a false alarm activation.

  4. #4
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    In my city, all new commercial occupancies or public use buildings are required to have Knox Boxes put in and I believe they are trying to require all existing buildings to add them.
    Marc S.
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    Solon Local 2079

    (Previously posted as Hobbitt. Registered December '02,)

  5. #5
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    Here there are small lock boxes in the entrance to the building and we have one key that opens all of the lock boxes. That way they key is always at the building and not on our trucks.
    Here is a little article on what I am talking about!

    http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/fire/FMO...letins/965.pdf

    Here is a picture of one!
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  6. #6
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    Default a little of everything

    We use knox boxes, master keys for gated communities, or we get the gate codes from dispatch on the LMDT (if available and current).

  7. #7
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    At the college I work at when the fire departemt responds I a securit guard have to give up my keys. I wish we had lock boxes to make it easier. Because I carry almost 50 keys.

  8. #8
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    We use Knox Boxes as well. The keys are secured in our apparatus. I'm not exactly positive on the specs, but I know that if the key is missing when the truck gets started the horn goes off. It also has a blinking alert light that notifies you if the key is not secured. That pretty much eiminates the prospect of stolen keys... at least for us.
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  9. #9
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    Most places around here use Knox Boxes. The place I work at full time just expanded back in 1999 and now so they were required to get a Knox Box for entry. Once just inside the door there is another locked box with different keys for different parts of the building.
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  10. #10
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    To solve the security issue my department purchased a device to store in the engine that requires a code to access the main knox box key. Everyone has there own code that only they know, and the box has a memory to remember who the last person to access the key was incase it comes up missing. We went to this system due to security concerns of banks in town.

  11. #11
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    http://www.knoxbox.com/store/search-...TOKEN=71584835

    Hopefully the link works. If not go to knoxbox.com, then products and it will be listed under master key retention systems.

  12. #12
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    We carry 4 universal keys that get us into any building in our district:
    1. Bolt cutters
    2. Sledgehammer
    3. Axe
    4. Queensland fire and rescue authority act.



    I think the Knox boxes are a great idea though.
    "There are only two things that i know are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And im not so sure about the former."

    For all the life of me, i cant see a firefighter going to hell. At least not for very long. We would end up putting out all the fires and annoying the devil too much.

  13. #13
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    we dont currently have them but are looking at them .......
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  14. #14
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    All new commercial buildings, regardless of their hours of operation, are required by our building code to have one Knox box in the front and one in the rear.

    Select buildings have also been urged to by the Knox boxes and emplace them if they are prior code. They save valuable time and energy. And they save money, because per SOGs, township ordinance, and our contract, any waterflow alarm recieved in the township has to be investigated by the fire department vis-a-vis a walkthrough. So we thus encourage them to put the keys in so we don't have to break stuff

    Never worried about losing the keys or having them stolen. They're kept locked in a keypad lock box on both of our engines.
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  15. #15
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    We are going to be useing the knox box system that requires a radio frequency tone, just like your pager to unlock the key in our engines. They will be installed soon, and public buildings and new busineses will have the boxes at the entry. I hope it catches on, I just returned from an alarm at a resisence where we could have used it.

  16. #16
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    Default Knox Nightmare

    I lost "the key".

    We have about 300 boxes in our city, and I "misplaced" one of the Knox keys last year while doing a fire inspection. The Marshall made the decision to have the trucks go to each buisness and replace the tumbler in all 300 locks at a cost of $5000 and about a month of man hours on duty, in August.

    My name was sh*thead for about 3 months, but a couple of positives came out of the mishap.

    - maybe 10%-20% of the locks were either so old they didn't work, or locks on the doors had been changed and the key's in the box hadn't been updated.

    - We had a key lockbox installed in every truck that holds the Knox key, and you have to punch in a # code to remove it. A blue light flashes every 3 seconds until you put the key back in and turn it to lock it into place. Basically making it "fireman" proof.

    We haven't lost a key since, and now our Knox system in 100% acurate and functional.

    I am 100% positive that loosing that key will be my legacy.
    Last edited by FHandz15; 04-29-2005 at 11:27 PM.

  17. #17
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    Our Fire Chief doesn't like to accept keys, but we don't have any lockboxes either. So, we use forcible entry tools! The good thing about a small town is that we only have a few commercial buildings and all of the residences here are single family dwellings.

    TF

  18. #18
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    We use Knox Boxes. We have been using them for several years now. Some commerical buildings have them and we are trying to get on all the others. We also have some temporary types that we will "loan" to individuals for thier residence in the event that they believe we need to get in for some reason.

  19. #19
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    Before i moved into my house and before i joined the brigade, my officer had to break into this house when the previous owners were on holida just because the smoke detector's battery went flat and went off. Though we still havent fixed the lock yet... and we moved in quite awhile ago.
    "There are only two things that i know are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And im not so sure about the former."

    For all the life of me, i cant see a firefighter going to hell. At least not for very long. We would end up putting out all the fires and annoying the devil too much.

  20. #20
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    A BUNCH of our buildings have lock boxes. Each FF has their own key. The keys in the boxes are limited to main entrance, alram and fire system keys, maint rooms, electric rooms and elevator equipment rooms. No master or apartment keys are in the boxes.

    Gate keys are per county ordinace. They either have to have a county key or a siren activated opener on the gate.

    Buildings with coded entrances have the number in the county CAD and the number is on both the call printouts and digital pages.
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  21. #21
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    We have them for businesses. Our engines and truck have a coded lock box mounted in them. The keys are closely monitored. All lock boxes are checked yearly during company inspections.

    We have taken the lock box system one step further by (thru a grant) purchasing residential lock boxes. These will be used for our senior citizens, who may not have the ability to unlock their doors in an emergency.

  22. #22
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    I was not aware of the on-truck systems with individual key code access or page-tone access. Great information all, thanks very much!
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    go to www.knoxbox.com for more info

  24. #24
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    We have Knox Boxes here. Village ordinance requires a key box for any establishment that has an automatic fire alarm. There are a few existing-non-conforming places, though.

    Heres the key holder that FHandZ talked about. They're expensive, but a great idea for volunteer/POC departments with unmanned stations.
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  25. #25
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    Originally posted by RLFD14
    I was not aware of the on-truck systems with individual key code access or page-tone access. Great information all, thanks very much!
    I recommend the radio controlled version.
    http://www.knoxbox.com/store/search-...TOKEN=71584835

    This way, all requests are over-the-air, logged on tape with voices, dates, times, unit numbers, etc, and it will never be a secret that the key has been released.

    Until the key is reinserted, every time you key the mic, it beeps at the end, so everyone knows you haven't returned it.

    They have a variety of encoders for dispatch to send out the proprietary Knox dial tone. The simplest are just stand-alone keypads that you type in a unit number and hit "send." But if you have fancy computer-controlled trunked systems, most manufacturers support the Knox tones.
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