Knox Boxes Help Firefighters and Paramedics in Emergencies

Created: 04/03/2013 6:07 PM By: Katherine Johnson

When firefighters and paramedics need to gain access to your home, every second counts and they'll find a way inside in whatever means necessary.

"We were trying to get into facilities that were locked and what we were having to do was force entry," said Matt Willems, a firefighter and paramedic with Edina.

But one key can make all the difference.  A knox box is a locked box you can mount outside your home to keep keys secured.  You open it up within seconds and gain access to every locked door on the property.

"Very quickly we can get into the apartment and take care of the patient without having to force entry, damage anything and meanwhile keep the facility secure," said Willems.

Edina firefighters respond to an average of 12 calls per shift.  They had to force entry during at least five of those calls every day, causing expensive repairs for homeowners and wasting precious time.

"For cardiac arrests, every minute that CPR is not given drops their chance of survival by 10%," he said.

The steel box is virtually indestructible.

"The only people within the city of Edina that have a knox box key are us - the firefighters," said Willems.

And they keep that key locked up tight in another secured lock box.

"I think thieves or criminals would have an easier time going through the door than breaking into a knox box."

Firefighters are even protecting the city's belongings with the knox box: locking up standpipe valves that copper thieves had been stealing for months.  

Soon, you'll see knox boxes throughout the metro. Golden Valley and St. Louis Park already use them at some facilities.

They cost between three and five hundred dollars.  To order one, visit