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Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 guidelines, Knox is taking extra precautions for the health and safety of our customers and staff. In addition, first responders must have rapid access into structures in a lockdown, closure or reduced business operations status. Buildings and other vital assets must ensure they’ve installed rapid access products with this important capability.
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Department the 1 last update 2020/05/27 Phone:Department Phone: 302-764-2844

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Not your department? Please contact your local Fire Department or call Knox Customer Service at 800-552-5669

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Fire Prevention Bureau Office of the Fire for 1 last update 2020/05/27 MarshalOffice of the Fire Marshal 3639 Parsons Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43207 614-221-3132 Ext. 7-5602
Publication Updated: July 26, 2016

Code Compliance Guideline

Rapid Key Entry Program

In an effort to provide both fire department emergency access and building security, the Columbus Division of Fire has selected the Knox Box Public Safety Key Box System to accomplish these goals. This is a system that will allow the Division of Fire access to a key for nondestructive entry into a building.

This is a system for commercial establishments within the City for 1 last update 2020/05/27 of Columbus, as well as all commercial and residential gates. In this program the building owner / occupant orders the correct device(s) to install on the building to secure keys for use by the fire department in an emergency.This is a system for commercial establishments within the City of Columbus, as well as all commercial and residential gates. In this program the building owner / occupant orders the correct device(s) to install on the building to secure keys for use by the fire department in an emergency.

The Knox Rapid Entry System is a secure emergency access program developed for property owners and fire departments. When a fire breaks out, or there is any emergency, the Knox Box Rapid Entry System allows firefighters and paramedics immediate entry into buildings and property without forced entry damage or delay. Property owners store keys, access cards, gatekeys, etc. in high security boxes mounted near building entrances. Each device purchased by a property owner is keyed to a master key controlled by the for 1 last update 2020/05/27 Division of Fire. The Knox Rapid Entry System is a secure emergency access program developed for property owners and fire departments. When a fire breaks out, or there is any emergency, the Knox Box Rapid Entry System allows firefighters and paramedics immediate entry into buildings and property without forced entry damage or delay. Property owners store keys, access cards, gatekeys, etc. in high security boxes mounted near building entrances. Each device purchased by a property owner is keyed to a master key controlled by the Division of Fire.

In addition to key boxes and vaults; padlocks and key switches operate with the same master key. This allows fire department access to gated communities, storage areas, and elevators.

1.0 the 1 last update 2020/05/27 Buildings - Rapid Entry Access Box:1.0 Buildings - Rapid Entry Access Box:

When an occupancy chooses to install a key box, a model 3200 or 4400 hinged (single core) series box may be purchased from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer. Where installation allows, a recessed box is recommended.

The purchaser installs the empty box according to the included installation guidelines. Once the Knox key box or device is installed, the building owner should contact the Columbus Division of Fire Prevention Bureau at (614) 221-3132 to schedule an inspection of the installation for compliance with the installation guidelines and to have the building keys placed inside the rapid entry access box. Future access to add or remove a key from the box should be coordinated by calling (614) 221-3132 to make an appointment. The rapid entry access box is designed to contain only the key to the main entrance of the building and life safety systems. As an additional security precaution for residential buildings, a building-wide pass key or master key is not recommended for placement in any building access key box.

  • The owner / occupant is responsible for ordering and installing the security box Knox Box 3200 or 4400 Series (Hinged, Single Core) from the manufacturer.
  • Each box will have a red highlighted sticker affixed to the outside of the box for ease of detection by the emergency responders.
  • The box is not required to be monitored by the alarm company, but is recommended.
  • The owner / occupant is required to arrange for initial securing of the box contents of the key box, after installation, by calling the Fire Prevention Bureau.
  • The owner /occupant is required to notifying the Division of Fire whenever a situation dictates the need to update the key box contents.
  • Additional box(s) can be established as needed for a structure to comply with the requirements within or upon the owner/occupants desire.

1.1 Location of Rapid Entry Access the 1 last update 2020/05/27 Box:1.1 Location of Rapid Entry Access Box:

When an occupancy chooses to install a key box, a model 3200 or 4400 hinged (single core) series box may be purchased from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer. Where installation allows, a recessed box is recommended.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for The purchaser installs the empty box according to the included installation guidelines. Once the Knox key box or device is installed, the building owner should contact the Columbus Division of Fire Prevention Bureau at (614) 221-3132 to schedule an inspection of the installation for compliance with the installation guidelines and to have the building keys placed inside the rapid entry access box. Future access to add or remove a key from the box should be coordinated by calling (614) 221-3132 to make an appointment. The rapid entry access box is designed to contain only the key to the main entrance of the building and life safety systems. As an additional security precaution for residential buildings, a building-wide pass key or master key is not recommended for placement in any building access key box.

  • The owner / occupant is responsible for ordering and installing the security box Knox Box 3200 or 4400 Series (Hinged, Single Core) from the manufacturer.
  • Each box will have a red highlighted sticker affixed to the outside of the box for ease of detection by the emergency responders.
  • The box is not required to be monitored by the alarm company, but is recommended.
  • The owner / occupant is required to arrange for initial securing of the box contents of the key box, after installation, by calling the Fire Prevention Bureau.
  • The owner /occupant is required to notifying the Division of Fire whenever a situation dictates the need to update the key box contents.
  • Additional box(s) can be established as needed for a structure to comply with the requirements within or upon the owner/occupants desire.

1.2 Contents for 1 last update 2020/05/27 of Rapid Entry Access Box:1.2 Contents of Rapid Entry Access Box:

The owner / occupant or person in control of the building or facilities are required to have the following contents within the rapid entry key box system. All contents of the box must be marked for ease of identification.

  • Key(s) to locked points of access to the structures main entrance
  • Key(s) to locked mechanical rooms
  • Key(s) to locked electrical rooms
  • Key(s) to any fenced or secured areas
  • Sprinkler and/or Riser Room
  • Keys to access generator
  • Keys to access roof hatch
  • Any other locked areas as required by the Fire Marshal of the Columbus Division of Fire or specified during the plans review process
  • Any alarm room/fire control panel, if present
  • Keys to reset pull stations
  • Up to date emergency contact list for the premises and/or occupant

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 1.3 Quantity of Keys for the Rapid Entry Access Box:

Most Buildings — Two sets of keys (see list above) shall be provided.

High Rise Buildings — Four sets of keys (see list above) shall be provided

Buildings over 250,000 sq. ft. — Four sets of keys (see list above) shall be provided

2.0 Elevator Key Box:

When an occupancy chooses to install an elevator key box, a model 1400 series box, with dual drop key holder, may be purchased from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer.

The purchaser installs the elevator box according to the included installation guidelines. Once the elevator box is installed, the building owner should contact the Columbus Division of Fire Prevention Bureau at (614) 221-3132 to schedule an inspection of the installation for compliance with the installation guidelines and to have the elevator keys placed inside the elevator box. Future access to add or remove a key from the box should be coordinated by calling (614) 221-3132 to make an appointment. The elevator box is designed to contain only the key for the operation of the elevator and access to the related elevator equipment.

  • The front cover shall be permanently labeled with the words ""
  • The elevator key box shall be mounted at each elevator bank in the lobby nearest to the lowest level of Fire Department access.
  • The elevator key box shall be mounted approximately 5 feet 6 inches above the finished floor to the right side of the elevator bank.
  • Contents of the elevator key box are limited to fire service elevator keys, elevator door keys/tools, and keys to elevator related mechanical rooms, including locked stairwell doors, when needed.
  • In buildings with two or more elevator banks, a single key box shall be permitted to be used when such elevator banks are separated by not more than 30 feet.
  • Additional key boxes shall be provided for each individual elevator or elevator bank separated by more than 30 feet.

2.1 Contents of Elevator Box:

The owner / occupant or person in control of the building or facilities described within are required to have the following contents within the elevator key box. All contents of the box such as keys must be marked for ease of identification for use.

  • Elevator Fire Service Key
  • Keys for elevator mechanical / electrical rooms and access to stairways
  • Elevator key/tool (drop key) for external elevator door

2.2 Quantity of Keys for the Elevator Key Box:

Three sets of keys (see list above), and two drop keys shall be provided.

3.0 Hazmat Cabinet:

Any facility required to comply with the rapid entry program that uses, maintains, distributes, or destroys hazardous materials or hazardous waste may install a Hazmat Cabinet (Knox Cabinet 1300 Series Dual Lock). The purchaser installs the cabinet according to the included installation guidelines. Once the hazmat cabinet is installed, the building owner should contact the Columbus Division of Fire Prevention Bureau at (614) 221-3132 to schedule an inspection of the installation for compliance with the installation guidelines.

3.1 Contents of Hazmat Cabinet:

  • A current list of facility management personnel knowledgeable about safety procedures of materials on site, complete with telephone numbers for such personnel in the event of an incident after normal business hours
  • Alphabetical listing of chemicals, their locations, and approximate quantity and strength
  • A binder containing the material safety data (MSD) sheets. In the event that the volume of the MSD sheets is too great to keep in the HazMat cabinet, a location list of the onsite MSD sheets shall be provided
  • Emergency contact information for the chemical companies of products in facility
  • A facility site plan, including room numbering system, to include the following:
    • The location of storage and use of hazardous materials on site;
    • The location of on-site emergency fire-fighting and spill clean-up equipment;
    • Secondary containment vessels
    • Ventilation systems
    • A diagram of the complete sewer system and the water system, showing fire hydrant and water main locations and sizes

3.2 Location of Hazmat Cabinet:

The Hazardous Material Cabinet shall be located on the premises to the front of the building on a metal post or appropriate structure erected for the Hazmat Cabinet. It shall be located at the furthest point away from the building that is accessible to the emergency responders. The Hazardous Material Cabinet should be mounted between four to six feet from the ground.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 4.0 Gates and Barriers:

Gates that are electric or chained will require a Knox Electric Key Switch or a Padlock.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 4.1 Manual (non-automatic) Gates and Barriers:

All barriers placed across fire access roadways are determined to be obstructions and are therefore prohibited unless specifically approved by the Division of Fire. Manual gates shall be provided with an approved method for emergency access. Approved methods shall consist of one of the following; high security padlock (Knox brand) keyed to Columbus Division of Fire emergency access keyway, or the installation of a Knox rapid access key box containing the gate key.

  • A Knox padlock is required where a chain or manual gate is being utilized. The Knox padlock shall be installed per the manufacturer's recommendations and in accordance with all Columbus Division of Fire requirements.
  • Where multiple padlocks are used on a single gate, the padlocks shall be daisy-chained together. This will allow access for the property owner and Division of Fire personnel

4.2 Automatic Gates and Barriers:

All automatic access gates across fire access roadways shall be equipped with an emergency agency approved Knox electric key switch, which overrides all commands and allows safe passage through the gate. When an occupancy chooses to provide gate access, a Knox Key Switch #3502 may be purchased from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer.

4.2.1 Key Switch Function and Location:

An approved (Knox) electric key operated switch shall be installed at the entry control panel for fire department and emergency medical use. Activation of the switch shall over-ride all functions and open the gate(s). Panel location must be approved by the fire department.

  • Upon activation of the key switch, the gate shall remain open until returned to normal operation by means of the key switch.
  • When deactivated by the Fire Department using the Knox Key, only then will the gate resume normal operation.
  • The emergency gate switch shall open both the entrance and exit gate(s) when gate(s) are in close proximity to each other.
  • The emergency key switch shall be located at the card/code keypad pedestal.
  • The Knox key switch shall be mounted 5 ½ feet from the ground
  • The key switch shall be located below a sign labeled "" The sign shall be 8"" with white reflective lettering on a red background.

5.0 Access Control Devices:

When access points (Main Entry Doors) are secured with magnetic locks or electric strikes, a Knox Key Switch #3502 is required in conjunction with the above noted requirements. The key switch is to be located within 12 inches of the security card key reader.

6.0 Pedestrian Gates:

When the primary access point has a pedestrian gate, the gate will be required to have a means for Fire Department access. This access may be provided with a Knox Key Switch #3502, or Knox Box 3200 Series (Hinged Door) if manual gate.

7.0 Locking FDC Caps:

In an effort to improve Homeland Security, the vulnerability of automatic sprinkler and standpipe systems, and the potential compromise of Fire Department Connections (FDCs), the Columbus Division of Fire will require the use of locking FDC caps.

The locking FDC cap was developed to protect fire sprinkler and standpipe connections from accidental damage, vandalism, and physical attack. Installation of the locking FDC caps ensures sprinklers / standpipes reliability and building safety, by preventing foreign objects from entering the sprinkler system.

Locking FDC Caps, with swivel guard, or StorzGuard caps are required for all fire sprinkler and standpipe systems. These caps prevent debris from entering and damaging the system and obstructing water flow. When an occupancy chooses or is directed to provide locking FDC caps, the locking FDC caps may be purchased from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer.

  • New Systems — The property owners shall be notified by the Fire Prevention Bureau during the plan review phase, regarding the requirement and installation of approved locking FDC caps to secure the FDC from impairments. At the final life safety inspection, the Fire Inspector will install the FDC locking caps for the property owner and note this on the inspection paperwork.
  • Existing Systems — The property owners may purchase the locking FDC caps from the Knox Company or authorized Knox retailer. The Fire Prevention Bureau must approve the ordering and installation of the locking FDC caps. Once approved, and the locking FDC caps have been delivered to the facility, the Fire Prevention Bureau will coordinate the installation. If the installing Division of Fire personnel has reason to believe that the FDC piping has been impaired, the building owner / occupant will be given a "" to have the system inspected / back flushed. All items listed in NFPA 25 shall be verified by a contractor. The contractor will inspect and back flush the FDC, if needed, and provide a maintenance report to the property owner for review by the fire inspector. Once the FDC piping has been inspected / serviced by a contractor, the locking FDC caps may be installed.