Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fire Codes and Lock Boxes

I recently received a notice from a fellow broker stating that their client, a retail jeweller was required to install a Lock Box that is "constructed, keyed and located in a manner acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction containing a set or sets of be used in an emergency.  This is per the Alberta Fire Code (2006). 

The actual Fire Code can be found at -

Failure to comply with Alberta's Safety Code Act could result in fines up to $15,000 and/or$1,000 per day.

As you can imagine our client was quite concerned leaving a key in a box attached to their premises.  Concerns included -
  • Is the box strong enough to resist attack
  • Can it be alarmed
  • Who will have access
  • Can we decline to install
I spoke with several sources including locksmiths who are listed as recommended installers by the City of Calgary along with Loss Prevention experts from Jewelers Mutual.  This is what I was told.

Lock boxes also know as Knox Boxes are common in many jurisdiction in the US.  The idea behind the lock box is to allow emergency responders a quick and safe way to access a premises without causing unnecessary damage to the property.  The use of lock boxes is becoming standard as more and more Authorities Having Jurisdiction are requiring this. 

Lock boxes although strong are susceptible to attack if the right combination of tools and wit are used.  A tamper switch can be installed and connected to the existing alarm system in order to help protect.  We highly recommend the use of the tamper switch.

The argument to be made about the perceived vulnerability of the box:  If a would be criminal is willing to take the time to damage the box in order to gain access, why not bypass the box and attack the door or windows.  The time required to get into the lock box leaves the criminal exposed to detection.  If they are able to compromise the box and obtain the key, they still need to deactivate the premises alarm system.  Based on this theory the criminal would be better served by bypassing the lock box altogether and trying to gain entry through any exterior opening.

Although the idea of lock boxes has many jewellers nervous, the actual increase risk of vulnerability is relatively low.  We believe that this system is fairly safe and would not consider this an impediment on your business security.

As always if you would like any additional information feel free to contact me.

Simon Thomas, President

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