Giving firefighters a spare key

Some examples of Knox Boxes.

Fire Chief Heather Burford points out that, while some Ridgefield houses are easy to gain access to in an emergency, others  are well fortified and require some significant destruction before firefighters can get inside.

To avoid that problem, she encourages Ridgefielders to get Knox Boxes, which are safes that only firefighters can open and that hold a spare house key.

They’re common on commercial buildings, but some homes can have them, too. In all, some 730 properties in town have them, which Chief Burford says is very high.

“The key’s not made available to anybody else,” Chief Burford said.

The boxes can be opened only with a key that is stored in a secure box on the department’s vehicles. Each firefighter has a personal access code to unlock the key, and a blue light flashes on the device until the key is safely locked back up.

In addition to avoiding costly damage, Knox Boxes can make it easier for firefighters to get to people who might be inside a home but unable to open the door, such as an elderly person who has fallen.

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