JAY — The first Knox-Box, a secure rapid entry system, was installed on a local business building last week.

The Jay Fire Rescue Department has the master key to get into the box in case of fire, an alarm or smoke showing. The master key is in a lock set attached to a keypad that can only be released if an officer punches in a code, Dick Cook, safety officer for the department, said Friday. The keypad records who took the key, when and what time of day.

The lock set is in a firetruck, he said.

The Knox-Box rapid entry system could save significant damage to businesses, churches and homes if a key-holder is not nearby, Cook said. If at 2 a.m. smoke is showing from a building or an alarm is going off, it is a lot better to use a key to gain entry into the building than an ax, he said.

Many times a key-holder does not live close by and even if they live in town, if there is a fire firefighters need to get into the building as quickly as possible to minimize damage, he said. With the Knox-Box system the key to the building could be accessed and firefighters will not have to break down the door to get in, he said.

“Every second counts,” Cook said, and it will save property owners money.

Androscoggin Bank was the first to install a secure box.

Several other businesses have showed interest but have not contacted the Fire Department, he said.

The cost of the box that has drawn the most interest is $255.

The boxes cannot be attained unless someone in authority at the Fire Department, such as Public Safety Director Larry White Sr. or Assistant Chief Mike Booker, signs off on an application for one, he said.

Some insurance companies also offer discounts if a Knox-Box is being used on the premises, Cook said.

There is no monetary gain for the Fire Department, he said. “It just makes our job easier.”

The department is offering to connect interested parties to the company that sells the Knox-Box system. Anyone interested can contact Cook or firefighter Corey Leclerc who are overseeing the service.

Farmington Fire-Rescue and Livermore Falls Fire-Rescue departments also offer the service.

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