Huntsville Fire and Rescue starts new safety measure to protect businesses

An electronic key is programmed to open a box that will give firefighters access to your business.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 5:14 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 7:30 PM

Huntsville Fire and Rescue now has new technology to protect your place of business in an emergency. If you're a new business owner, you'll need one to be up to code.

Huntsville Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson said when a business is locked up or closed down, Huntsville firefighters will now have a way to get in without breaking a window or door.

"It's always a tough decision for first responders when we don't see anything immediately to sit there and have to wait and to go back to a station and not know if there is anything happening in that building," he said.

The system called a Knox Box is able to allow firefighters electronic access to a box outside your business that holds a key. Wilkerson said security features are why the city is finally deploying the program.

"There's a lot of redundancy. You have to have a personal code just to access the key. Once the key is taken out to use, it's only active for a certain period of time. After that time limit, it deactivates," he said.

Wilkerson said because the smart key won't work if it's lost or stolen, you don't have to worry about someone getting into the box outside your business.

"If a key gets misplaced or lost, and we don't have to worry about a key out there that fits all these boxes. We know that key is going to deactivate," he explained.

The system also records who has opened the box and when it was accessed. Both business owners and Huntsville Fire and Rescue have access to that information.

To get a Knox Box, you have to sign up online. It will cost you up to $1,000, but it can save you more in the long run if there's a false alarm at your business and firefighters bust out a window in the process.

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