SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Fire Department will lend a limited number of "Knox-Boxes" to residents who have medical or physical conditions that make it difficult to open doors in emergency situations.
The 4-by-5-inch safe-like device is designed as a rapid entry system to allow secure emergency access for the fire department, according to a news release from the department.
"When a fire breaks out or there is a medical emergency, a Knox-Box device allows for immediate entry into buildings and properties without forced entry damage or delay," the release says.
The devices are to be installed on a resident's front door, and the resident provides the fire department with an extra key to place inside. Department employees then secure the box with a unique key that will be kept in a fire apparatus.
"If an emergency arises, the responding crews are able to access the Knox-Box for the house keys to allow entry into the house without forcing entry or waiting for a key holder," the release stated.
Only Sycamore residents with existing medical or physical conditions which could render them unable to open a locked door in an emergency are eligible for the program. As there are only 25 boxes available, they will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the release.
All Knox-Boxes purchased for the loan program are the fire department's property, and as residents participating in the program no longer need the Knox-Box, department personnel will retrieve them.
Anyone interested in applying for a Knox-Box or for information on buying one, should contact Assistant Fire Chief Art Zern at 815-895-4514.