February 28th, 2020 – 4:00 PM
Ethan Garrett – WRGA Digital News Editor and Video Reporter
WRGA News met with Fire Marshall Mary Catherine Chewning with The Rome/Floyd Fire Department today to talk about their new “Knoxbox” Lockbox initiative. First Baptist Church in Downtown Rome is among some of the first businesses in Rome to utilize this device.
We spoke with one of the members of First Baptist church, Maggie Foy, about why the desire for this device exists in our community (Of which you can hear in the video above).
This lockbox device allows the Rome/Floyd Fire Department the ability to access a compromised structure immediately and investigate the problem. This accessibility for immediate access prevents more damage to the structure occurring as a result of waiting for a key-holder to arrive to the scene. We spoke to Fire Department Sergeant William Scott Linley about his experience in this matter and how he thinks the device will be a great aide to the Rome/Floyd Community (Of which you can also hear in the video above).
For the Fire Department, sometimes a problem is not visible from the exterior – Engine Companies are forced to stand-by for up to 20+ minutes waiting on a key holder to respond. This increases the chance of fire spreading and flooding inside the structure due to water flow (from commercial fire suppression/sprinkler systems).
Lock Boxes are ONLY accessed during Emergency Operations which is designated as a call to E-911 and dispatch of fire units.
Cost ranges from approximately $150 and up. The average box is approximately $350 (tax not included).
Advantages for the Lockbox Device:
- Reduces property damage.
- Rapid access during medical emergencies
- Reduces insurance claims.
- Lower Insurance Premiums
- RFD is Back in Service FASTER for the next emergency.
- Reduce the potential for automobile accidents because business owners and residents will know that because of this system, the Fire Department is already handling/handled the problem within their building and there is no need to panic or drive rapidly.
According to Mary Catherine Chewning, an ordinance requiring the usage of these Lockboxes is incoming for New Constructions, Buildings with fire suppression systems, and many others.
This is the current fire code regarding these devices:
“New 2018 IFC requires Key Boxes meet UL 1037 Attack Standard:
SECTION 506 – Key Boxes
IFC 506.1 When required. “Where access to or within a structure or an area is restricted because of secured openings or where immediate access is necessary for life-saving or fire-fighting purposes, the fire code official is authorized to require a key box to be installed in an approved location. The key box shall be of an approved type listed in accordance with UL 1037, and shall contain keys to gain necessary access as required by the fire code official.”
506.2 Key Box maintenance “The operator of the building shall immediately notify the fire code official and provide the new key where a lock is changed or re-keyed. The key to such lock shall be secured in the key box. “
For more information on the “Knoxbox” lockbox device for your personal or commercial building, please contact Fire Marshall Mary Catherine Chewning at the Rome/Floyd Fire Department at 706-236-4510, or email MChewning@romega.us.