Fire department holds the key to saving your business

April 8, 2014

Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk holds a Knox Box.

LUDINGTON — Have you ever thought about how the fire department gains access to a commercial building during an emergency? There is always the option of breaking in the door, but that’s often an unnecessary procedure, especially when the call is often a false alarm.

Businesses often register authorized personnel, known as a key holder, who have the ability to unlock the building. This process, however, can often take up valuable time.

Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk would like to offer an alternative. It’s called a Knox Box, a locked box attached to the building. Inside the box is a key to the entrance. The fire department holds the key to the box.

Ludington Fire Department will host an open house Wednesday night to educate industry and business leaders on how this device can save lives and property.

“A few weeks ago we had an alarm at a building,” Funk said. “It took 50 minutes for the key holder to get there to unlock it. We could see in and accessed that there was no emergency. But, we still have to check it out. This means our personnel, who are basically volunteers, are taken away from their jobs and families. It also means resources and tax dollars are tied up.”

Funk said if the call had been an actual fire, the fire department would have taken the necessary action to enter the building. However, breaking down doors can be costly, especially when there isn’t an emergency.

Wednesday’s open house is for any business or industry in Mason County. Funk said a representative from Mason-Oceana 911 will be on hand to register key holders and information about Knox Boxes will be available. All area fire departments in Mason County are able to use the boxes in their respective coverage area.

The open house will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Ludington Fire Department at 109 S. Robert St., Ludington.  Snacks will also be provided.

For more information please contact Jerry Funk at 231-690-0346.

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