This is from my old department. The just started doing it.


SFD Offers Emergency Access Alternative PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 June 2006

Chief Ross Morgan of the Shepherdstown Fire Department announced today that SFD is offering residential KnoxBox® key box entry systems to residents of the Shepherdstown area who may find themselves unable to open the door for emergency workers. Gaining access is of particular concern with elderly or disabled residents, especially those that live alone. The KnoxBox® is a small steel safe containing a key to the residence which is attached to the homeowner’s door and can only be accessed by SFD emergency crews.

Ambulance crews often find themselves called to a home where the patient is unable to let them in to provide assistance because the patient suffers from an immobilizing condition or has experienced an illness or injury that prevents them from getting to the door. In this situation the crew must spend precious time locating an un-locked window or door, or make forced entry, causing property damage and leaving the residence unsecured. With the key box system, crews can quickly get to the patient who needs their help without wasting time or damaging property.

The key box is attached by a bracket that goes over the door. The key box itself cannot be removed while the door is closed, and is virtually impenetrable with it’s nearly 2” thick steel walls and door. Inside the box contains a key to residence provided by the homeowner to a designated door. The key box can only be opened by the fire department using a special key which is secured in another safe in the ambulances and engines. When emergency entry is needed, the emergency crew notifies the Jefferson County Emergency Communications Center (ECC.) The ECC verifies the identity of the requesting crew and releases the on-board lock electronically, giving the crew access to the KnoxBox® master key, which they then use to open key box on the homeowner’s door and retrieve the key to the residence. Each request for the release of a key is recorded and logged by the ECC.

SFD is offering the key boxes on loan to homeowners and residents of the Shepherdstown area at no charge. Anyone interested in having a key box placed on their residence is encouraged contact Chief Morgan or Key Box Coordinator Ed Williams at 876-2311 for more information or to complete a request form.