In cases of fire or medical emergencies, it is vital that fire fighters and paramedics be able to gain access to buildings whether or not a caretaker is present. For this reason, the Minnesota State Fire Code provides authority to require installation of keyboxes. (MSFC 506)
A keybox is an armored tamper-proof box in which entry keys are placed for Fire Department emergency use. The keybox also helps minimize damage to your doors in an emergency. Only the Fire Department has keys to these boxes.
Here are the standards that must be applied when you install a keybox:
1. TYPE -- Effective January 1, 1988, the only approved keybox specified for use in Saint Paul to assist the Fire Department in gaining access to a building will be a Knoxbox.
NOTE: Effective January 1, 2007, existing ECS Elevator Fire Control Keyboxes equipped with a 10404 Ace Lock, are no longer authorized as building security lock boxes. Existing ECS boxes shall be replaced with a Knoxbox.
2. PURCHASE REQUIREMENTS -- The only company who distributes the Knoxbox for use in Saint Paul.
The Knox Company
1601 W. Deer Valley Road Phoenix, AZ 85027
(623)687-2300 or 1-800-552-5669 Knoxbox.com
3. INSTALLATION/MAINTENANCE -- When you buy the keybox, the box door will be unlocked so that the box can be installed. For security, the box does not come with a key.
The keybox should be installed at the main entrance to the building. The Fire Department Alert Decal that is included with the keybox must be placed in the upper right-hand corner of the entrance door where the keybox is located. Additional decals must be purchased and placed on the upper right-hand corner of all building entrance doors. This will alert Fire Department personnel that a Knoxbox is on the premises.
When the box has been installed, and the keys clearly labeled, and someone is available at the building to meet the Fire Department, contact the Communication Center at (651)266-7702. A fire company will be dispatched immediately to lock the key(s) in the keybox.
If any of the locks that the keys unlock are changed, call the Communication Center at (651) 266-7702 to request that a Fire Company be dispatched to open the box so that the keys can be exchanged. This must be done immediately when changing any of the keybox key locks.
4. FOR APARTMENT BUILDINGS:
If your building's main entrance door is always open, but the vestibule door (the door used for access to apartments) is always or sometimes locked, mount the box in the lobby or entry way above your mailboxes so the keybox bottom is no more than seven feet above the floor.
FOR ALL BUILDINGS:
If your building's main entrance door is always or sometimes locked, the keybox must be located on the outside of your building as close as possible to the main entrance so that the keybox is no more than seven feet above the bottom sill of the main entrance door(s).
If your buildings entrance door is always open, but it has been determined by the Fire Department that it would be unduly difficult to gain access to locked rooms within the building, such as, boiler, furnace, laundry, mechanical, storage, automatic sprinkler system, fire alarm system rooms, a keybox must be provided as stated above at a visible location outside or inside the main entrance door and must contain keys as required by the Fire Department.
5. KEYS -- If your keybox is mounted outside the building, a key to your building's main entrance must be furnished.
If your keybox is mounted inside the building, a key to your building's lobby/vestibule entrance must be furnished. Boiler, furnace, laundry, mechanical, storage, and automatic sprinkler system room keys should be provided if those rooms are kept locked and must be provided if the Fire Department has determined that it would be unduly difficult to gain access to any of these rooms. If the building has a fire alarm system, the key to the control panel must be tagged and installed in the box. DO NOT PROVIDE MASTER KEYS TO RESIDENTIAL APARTMEENT UNITS IN THE KEYBOX. MASTER KEYS TO GAIN ACCESS TO AREAS WITHIN COMMERCIAL PROPERTY WILL BE AT THE OWNERS DISCRETION OR AS REQUIRED BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
Keys stored in the keybox must be tagged and clearly marked as to the function of the key.
REMEMBER THREE THINGS ABOUT KEYBOXES:
- Only the Fire Department has keys to the keybox.
- The keybox allows fire fighters to gain rapid entry in case of a fire or medical emergency.
- The keybox allows fire fighters to gain rapid entry without damaging doors.