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CLIFTON PARK: The key to safety?

On Monday, March 12, the Clifton Park planning board considered a new law that would require businesses to install an emergency access system known as Knox-Box Rapid Entry.

The system consists of a device that would be installed at the entrances of commercial buildings, which could be accessed by emergency services via a key that is kept in the fire department. The box would contain keys to the building. Proponents of the system say it would save time in waiting for a building manager to arrive with a key, and it would help prevent property damage from forced entries.

The main intent of this law is to help our emergency services, Clifton Park fire marshal Sheryl Reed told board members.

Clifton Park has a large number of commercial businesses, and fire department Chief John Van Chance told the board that on several occasions the fire department has been forced to perform a break-in while responding to late-night alarm calls.

"(This system) saves the cost of breaking doors and windows," he said.

The boxes are opened using a key or a magnet card that is kept in the fire station in a locked box with a computer monitoring system that records the time and date of access. The company that supplies the equipment says it is "highly resistant to drilling or vandalism."

A Knox Box is currently required in all new commercial buildings, and the law would require existing businesses to install one within 18 months. ""

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