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Firefighters ask for help gaining emergency access

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Fire Department is asking all building owners with a Knox Box on their building to make sure the keys in the Knox Box are all current.

A Knox Box is a UL listed, secure key box mounted on the exterior of a building. It contains keys that allow the fire department access to all locked areas of a building, eliminating unnecessary and potentially costly delays when the fire department is responding to a fire, medical or other emergency.

Knox Boxes not only provide faster access in case of an emergency, but prevent expensive forcible entry should emergency services be required while the building is unoccupied. The Sycamore Fire Department is the only entity with access to the Knox Box, with keys that are unique to each community. The Knox Box keys on fire apparatus are kept in a secure, locked box that requires code entry to gain access.

Over time, business owners or occupants with a Knox Box may have changed the entry door keys or alarm panel codes. However, they may have neglected to update those keys or codes in the Knox Box.

If you are unsure whether the keys in your Knox Box are current, contact Assistant Fire Chief Art Zern at 815-895-4514 to schedule a fire department representative to meet with you and check.

Sycamore city ordinance requires Knox Boxes on all new properties, renovated properties and existing properties which are protected by automatic fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems or inaccessible as a result of security measures; all new commercial, manufacturing or industrial properties; all existing commercial, manufacturing or industrial properties that undergo a remodel that requires the issuance of a building permit; all multi-family residential buildings that have restricted access through locked doors and have a common corridor to living units. When a commercial structure has multiple occupancies, a Knox Box is required for each occupancy or storefront.

Anyone who wants or needs to install a Knox Box can contact the fire department for assistance.

Residential Knox boxes are useful on homes with occupants who are elderly or have limited mobility. In addition to storing entry door keys, medical or other important information can be stored for use by ambulance crews.

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