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City of Omaha - Nebraska

Omaha Fire DepartmentOmaha, Nebraska

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The purpose of key boxes (Knox Box) is to provide the Omaha Fire Department with rapid, non destructive emergency access to certain occupancies where no building representative is on location.

The International Fire Code 2003, Chapter 5, Fire Service which has been adopted by the City of Omaha authorizes a key box system. Particularly, International Fire Code 506.1 provides, “Where access to or within a structure or area is restricted because of secured openings or where immediate access is necessary for life-saving or fire-fighting purposes, the fire code official is authorized to require a key box to be installed in an approved location. The key box shall be of an approved type and shall contain keys to gain access by the fire code official.”

After much discussion and deliberation, the City of Omaha Fire Department through its Fire Code Official has determined that a key box system will be implemented. This decision also involved a detailed analysis of the products available in the market and ultimately, a selection of the product that provides functionality, but also is affordable and convenient.


The Omaha Fire Department will be requiring a key lock box be installed on certain occupancies that include but are not limited to:

1) Buildings with fire alarm users or sprinkler systems
2) Buildings with elevators
3) Buildings or areas that are restricted by way of a security gate or door or have a similar restricted entry.
4) Buildings secured or restricted where gaining immediate access by OFD is imperative.

Notwithstanding the above, single family residences and duplexes shall not be required to have a key lock box. Further, a key box is not required for businesses that are open 24 hours or buildings that are always unlocked.


After researching for an approved type of emergency key access system to authorize, KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System was the only company that met all the fire code official’s criteria which was:

1) Shall meet the standards for:

  • Safety for Key Locks UL 437
  • Anti Theft Alarms and Device UL 1037
  • Central Station Alarms UL 1610

2) Excellent history of providing services and products to fire departments throughout the United States

3) Administered and user friendly web-site that is maintained by the provider.

4) Provide Data Base that will track and maintain users of the key access system.

5) One key system


The KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System will be required on all new construction that falls within the established criteria. All existing facilities that fall within the criteria will be required to have the KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System installed within a period of twelve (12) months from the official starting date. Other existing facilities that contain hazardous operations or hazardous materials deemed by the authority having jurisdiction may be required to have the KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System installed within a reasonable time period as determined by the fire code official.

Guidelines of KNOX-BOX Purchase, Installation, Inspection

1) Business owners/operators shall purchase the appropriate Knox-Box. 

  • The item is available from the official Knox Box website: or by calling 800-552-5669.

2) Business owners/operators shall be responsible to have the Knox-Box installed at a location as close to the front entrance door as possible at a height of 6'.

  • Exception will be Knox-Box installed for access to security gates which shall be installed at a location approved by the OFD.

3) Once Knox-Box has been installed a business representative shall contact the Omaha Fire Prevention Bureau at 444-5711 to request a Fire Department representative to inspect the box and lock an entrance access key in the Knox-Box.

  • Entrance access key shall be provided by the occupancy representative.
  • A Fire Department representative shall make sure access key functions properly before locking it in the box.
  • An inspection fee of $25.00 shall be charged to the occupancy at the time of the inspection.

4) If a facility has the entrance locks changed or re-keyed for any reason they should contact Omaha Fire Prevention Bureau to make arrangements for a new inspection and entrance key to be placed in the Knox-Box.

5) All facilities that have a Knox-Box installed shall display a decal stating such on the front entrance.


There will be a total of seven Knox-Box system keys maintained by the Omaha Fire Department. One key will be secured in the Fire Prevention Bureau when not in use, the remaining six keys will be placed in the Fire Suppression Battalion Chiefs’ vehicles. These keys will be kept in a secured lock box mounted in the vehicles.

Use of the Knox-Box system key shall be for emergency response access with the exception of inspections. An owner or business representative shall be present during non emergency use of the Knox-Box system.

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