Key boxes may be required in Berryville
Posted: February 7, 2013
The Winchester Star
BERRYVILLE — Members of the Police and Security Committee of the Town Council agreed Wednesday to recommend Berryville enact an ordinance requiring all future commercial and institutional buildings in the town to install emergency key boxes.
Town Manager Keith Dalton said the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code already requires the boxes, but each jurisdiction must adopt the rule.
Similar to the boxes often used by Realtors showing houses, the small boxes are opened with a special key provided to emergency service providers, such as fire and rescue personnel and police.
Inside the box are keys to a particular building.
Police Chief Neal White said the boxes can save property owners money, because emergency workers don’t have to break a lock or destroy a door to gain entry.
Dalton said that in the case of an alarm going off at a building, if there is no visible smoke, the key box could allow firefighters to enter without breaking anything to determine if the problem is only a malfunctioning alarm.
White said that in such a case, no one would have to stand guard on the damaged property until the owner could get someone there to board up the door.
Dalton said the council could also recommend property owners use the Knox boxes, since the town’s volunteer fire and rescue company, John H. Enders, is already using that system with three facilities in town that currently have the boxes. White said two or three county businesses also use it.
Dalton said Enders has been “taking the lead” on getting the system installed at local businesses.
The ordinance change is expected to be taken up by the Town Council at its Tuesday meeting.
Attending the committee meeting were Chairwoman Mary Daniels and member David Tollett.
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