Knox Box Planning

“Non-Forcible Entry”

When teaching forcible entry, we stress the “try before you pry” concept. In today’s society the majority of the homes and businesses we respond to will be locked. The path of least resistance is always the best way to make entry into a facility.
In the past we have dis-cussed many different meth-ods to make forcible entry. This month I would like to discuss what we will call “non-forcible” entry. One of the most efficient ways to perform this is to have a key. Ok, that may seem a bit obvious. A simple sweep of the door frame, a lift and search under the door mat, or even a peek in the mailbox may produce a key. Some businesses may be happy to provide a key for your chief officers to hold.
One of the best and most secure systems for holding the key is the installation of a Knox Box. The box is in-stalled near the entry of the facility and a key to the fa-cility is placed inside. The box is opened by a key held by the fire department. How your department keeps this key may vary. My depart-ment has a secured holder in the first due engine that is opened by a code entered by the officer on scene. This keeps a log of when and who opened it. Other departments use a radio operated box that is opened by a signal sent by the dispatch center. All of these are found on Whatever system used, we must always main-tain the trust of those we serve.
Training Objectives
Upon completion, the de-partment should be able to…
• Discuss the importance of non-forcible entry.
• Identify locations for the installation of Knox Boxes
• Demonstrate the use of a Knox Box system.
Scott Meinecke is a mem-ber of the Sheldon and Granger Volunteer Fire De-partments, Director of Safety for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, and field staff for the Fire Service Training Bureau. He can be contacted by email at

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