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City Commission approves “Knox Box” ordinance

October 26, 2021–7:10 p.m.


The Rome City Commission has approved an ordinance requiring all new building sites to have a key box, also known as a Knox Box, to allow the fire and police departments to enter a building quickly in case of an emergency.

For the Fire Department, sometimes a problem is not visible from the exterior – Engine Companies are forced to stand by for up to 20+ minutes waiting on a key holder to respond.  

This increases the chance of fire spreading and flooding inside the structure due to water flow (from commercial fire suppression/sprinkler systems).

Advantages of the key box are:

  1. Reduces property damage.
  2. Rapid access during medical emergencies
  3. Reduces insurance claims.
  4. Lower Insurance Premiums
  5. RFD is Back in Service FASTER for the next emergency.
  6. Reduce the potential for automobile accidents because business owners and residents will know that because of this system, the Fire Department is already handling/handled the problem within their building and there is no need to panic or drive rapidly.

All new occupancies built after November 1, 2021, and served by Rome Fire Department shall be provided with a key box, approved by the Rome Fire Department. 

A key box, approved by the Rome Fire Department shall be required to be installed under the following circumstances:

  1. All existing buildings with a change of ownership occurring after November 1, 2021:
  2. Renovations or remodeling meeting the requirements of Chapter 43 of the Life Safety Code, NFPA 101, as described in the Rules and Regulations of the Georgia Safety Fire Commissioner, Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 120-3-3.01 et seq.;
  3. A third and any subsequent incident requiring fire department response that results in a false alarm; and
  4. A refusal by a notified keyholder whether via E-911 or an alarm/monitoring company of a fire department response to a possible incident within a structure with a potential activated fire protection system or called in alarm.
  5. Exception: Those facilities which provide 24-hour services, including, but not necessarily limited to, convenient stores, hospitals and 24-hour mercantile occupancies, etc.