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Huntsville Launches New Fire and Life Safety Measures 

Published on September 4, 2019

photo of fire chief demonstrating new security boxes for businessess that will allow firefighters access into closed buildings

The City of Huntsville is launching two new fire and life safety measures to better protect firefighters, reduce emergency response times, and decrease potential repair/replacement costs to businesses following a forced entry into a building.

The first program, Electric Rapid Access System, utilizes a secure electronic key vault to give firefighters access into a closed building if a fire alarm triggers after normal business hours.

The second program, a Fire Department Connection (FDC) locking cap, helps protect automatic fire sprinkler system connections from vandalism or debris. This ensures firefighters are able to get supplemental water to a building when they need it.

“Addressing fire and life safety issues is a top priority for us,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “I am proud that Huntsville is the first city in the nation to implement both of these programs, reinforcing our commitment to be a leader in public safety.”

In 2018, Huntsville Fire and Rescue responded to 9,800 calls for service during evening and weekend hours when most businesses are closed and secured. Gaining access into a building after business hours can require a forced entry, which increases the emergency response time and poses additional safety risks to firefighters along with unexpected costs to the business owner. Unprotected FDC caps, the access point for firefighters to get supplemental water to a building, can further hamper safety efforts and response times.

“Establishing these rapid access programs that incorporate the latest electronic technology increases our response capabilities and gives our firefighters another tool to use when they arrive on calls,” says Huntsville Fire and Rescue Chief Mac McFarlen

To offer these systems, Huntsville Fire & Rescue has partnered with the Knox Company, a leading provider of rapid access products for public safety officers. Businesses wishing to take advantage of the programs may opt-in by purchasing eLock Boxes and FDC products online:

Boxes: http://knoxbox.com/huntsville-al

FDC’s: https://knoxbox.com/huntsville-al-fdc

“Huntsville has demonstrated their innovation and dedication to public safety in being the leader in implementing advanced rapid access electronic technology,” says Chris Rovenstine, Vice President of the Knox Company.

Having secure and reliable systems for firefighters to gain entry into a building and to lock and unlock FDC caps helps ensure they will be able to safely do their job at a critical time.

Electronic Rapid Access Program – Knox Box

  • Firefighters gain quick entry into buildings, providing safety and operational benefits to first responders and businesses
  • Electronic key vaults reduce repair/replacement costs for building owners since firefighters can enter buildings without breaking doors or windows
  • Buildings and contents are better protected from unnecessary water damage caused by a delayed sprinkler shut-off
  • Damage to a building can temporarily displace a business and/or occupants
  • Small businesses can struggle with unexpected and expensive repair costs following a forced entry.

Knox FDC Locks

  • The sprinkler system stays debris-free and ready-to-use in the event of a fire
  • An available and adequate water supply produces less heat/smoke and decreases property damage
  • Operable sprinkler systems can reduce the overall long-term disruption to businesses
  • Eliminates the opportunity for criminal activities in uncapped connections