The Sycamore Knox Box program was started in 1995 to fill a need for emergency responders to gain access to commercial and residential occupancies in the event of an emergency. Emergencies including fires, medical aid, hazardous conditions, public service, and false alarms occur without notice and at all hours of the day, night and on weekends. The Sycamore Fire Department has an obligation to respond, investigate and provide assistance to mitigate all of these various situations.
A Knox Box is a UL listed, secure key box mounted on the exterior of many commercial and residential structures in the City of Sycamore and the Sycamore Community Fire District. The Knox Box contains keys provided by the owner or occupant that allow the fire department access to all locked areas of a building, eliminating needless and potentially costly delays when we respond to a call for service.
Installation of a Knox Box will not only provide faster access in case of an emergency, but will also prevent expensive forcible entry should emergency services be required to enter the premise while it is unoccupied. The Sycamore Fire Department is the only entity with access to the Knox Box with keys that are unique to each community. The Knox Box keys on fire apparatus are kept in a secure, locked box that requires code entry to gain access to the Knox Box key. Over time, business owners or occupants with a Knox Box may have changed the entry door keys or alarm panel codes. However, they may have neglected to update those keys or codes in the Knox Box, therefore, negating the purpose of the Knox Box.
We are asking that all occupancies that have Knox Boxes check to determine if any changes have been made to door entry keys since the Knox Box was installed. If the keys are all current, no action is required. However, if the owner/occupant is unsure whether the existing keys in the Knox box are current, please contact Assistant Fire Chief Art Zern at 815-895-4514 to schedule a Fire Department representative to meet with the owner/occupant to check the existing keys in the Knox Box.
By City ordinance, Knox Boxes are required to be installed on the following properties:
• All new properties, renovated properties and exist ing properties which are protected by automatic fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems or are inaccessible as a result of security measures.
• All new commercial, manufacturing or industrial properties.
• All existing commercial, manufacturing or industrial properties that undergo a remodel that requires the issuance of a building permit.
• All multi-family residential buildings that have restricted access through locked doors and have a common corridor to access living units. When a commercial structure has multiple occupancies, a Knox Box is required for each occupancy or storefront. If you are required to install a Knox Box or desire to install one, the Sycamore Fire Department will be happy to assist you in ordering the Knox Box and will advise you on proper installation of the box.
Residential Knox boxes (designed to hold 1-2 keys) are very effective for homes with elderly or mobility limited occupants. These Knox Boxes can be installed by the entry door to the occupancy or installed on the entry door itself. In addition to storing entry door keys, medical or other important information may be stored in them as well for use by the Sycamore Fire Department ambulance crew. If anyone has any questions, please contact Assistant Fire Chief Art Zern at 815-895-4514.