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What is a Knox Box, And Should You Get One?

by | May 19, 2023

A screenshot from Fire Chief Monteith’s presentation to the Town Board.


Several weeks ago, Davidson’s Fire Chief briefed the Town Board about the residential Knox Box program. Chief Ryan Monteith’s brief can be found here. The video of his presentation is also available.

Chief took great pains to make sure to highlight the fact that the Knox in these boxes has nothing to do with Mayor Rusty Knox. The company is based in Phoenix and has been in business since 1975.

According to their website, the company “has successfully developed innovative rapid access solutions for first responders with products that provide fast, safe, and secure entry into commercial, industrial, and residential properties, while minimizing damage and maximizing safety. Today, more than 15,000 fire, EMS, and law enforcement departments/agencies depend on Knox products to gain access into over one million buildings/properties.”

While the boxes have been used for commercial buildings for decades and are required by code to ensure firefighter access to critical areas, the idea of placing these boxes on residential homes is relatively new.

You have likely heard the stories of firefighters or first responders having to break down doors to gain access to a home in order to render aide to someone in distress. As a result, the Knox company began creating a residential model of their secure access boxes.

Purchasing a Knox Box can be done on the company’s website. The residential model (#1501) comes in two types, one that hangs over the door and another that mounts to a flat surface.

Screenshot from Fire Chief Monteith’s brief.

The Davidson Fire Department is registered with the Knox company, and when ordering, the purchaser will be required to select “Davidson Fire Dept. – DAVIDSON, NORTH CAROLINA.” The master keys to the boxes are secure and maintained from watch to watch with on-duty fire department first responders.

At slightly more than $200, the boxes are not cheap. However, they are cheaper than replacing a door, door jamb, and/or locks. Essentially the box would pay for itself if it was ever used.

More importantly, the lock can provide priceless peace of mind to residents who live alone or who have a family member who might need lifesaving support from first responders.

Once a resident receives their Knox Box, they should contact the Davidson Fire Department for key placement and locking the device.

Fire Chief Monteith reiterated that this is a completely voluntary program for the residents of Davidson.

Before the presentation ended, Town Commissioners followed up on one specific part of Chief’s brief – speaking of finding additional funding to help neighbors who might not be able to afford the cost. Chief also noted that DFD will seek grants and work with local organizations to help offset costs for neighbors in need.

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