County officials might require lockboxes for big buildings

Devices would give firefighters quicker access in emergencies

April 12, 2001|By Jamie Manfuso | Jamie Manfuso,SUN STAFF

Carroll officials may require owners of large buildings to install lockboxes to give firefighters faster access during emergencies.

The heavy-duty containers would hold keys to buildings and be located near entrances, Scott Campbell, county fire protection engineer, told county commissioners yesterday.

Frederick, Howard and Baltimore counties have similar programs, and Campbell said his office has the authority to require lockboxes. He presented the proposal to the commissioners to discuss legal concerns.

The devices would prevent firefighters from having to break doors or windows, Campbell said. Some buildings are so large that firefighters have to break in before they can assess whether an emergency exists, he said.

Only emergency personnel would have access to the boxes, which likely would be required of schools, large businesses and other large buildings, he said. He said keys to the boxes would be kept in emergency vehicles, and an alarm would sound when keys were out of the vehicle.

"We would religiously make sure that those keys are accounted for," Campbell said.

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