City Charter 31.20 and Portland Fire Code authorizes Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) to require the installation of a key box in or on a building or area when access may be difficult for firefighting purposes.
What is a Lock Box
A lock box is an entry system that allows PF&R to gain entry to your property in the event of an emergency. The components of a lock box include a UL-listed steel access box (or other access devices) with a UL-listed steel lid, lock, and key controlled only by PF&R. There are specific requirements for permitting and purchase of lock boxes in the City of Portland. The permit is available from the Fire Marshal's office at 1300 SE Gideon Street, by calling 503-823-3700, or by email. There is a $35 one-time fee. Once the permit has been obtained, lock boxes may be ordered from the Knox Company. Only series 3200 or 4400 boxes may be ordered.
Why Do I Need a Lock Box
- Having a lock box means that firefighters can gain entry to your business without delay or waiting for keys
- A lock box can help protect your inventory, equipment, and supplies caused by unnecessary water damage due to a delay in shutting off sprinklers
- Firefighters can access your building when it is unattended. Only PF&R will have a key to the lock box
- You need not respond to your building with keys at 2:00 a.m., in the case of a false alarm
- A lock box, containing keys to your business, eliminates the need for PF&R to force entry to your building. Building security is maintained, because PF&R can simply re-lock the undamaged door
Do I Need a Permit
Yes, a permit is required so that the appropriate information is available to the emergency responders. This process will also aid in updating keys and owner/occupant information. Without the permit, PF&R will NOT be able to service your lock box. The permit is a one-time fee of $35. You will need to purchase the permit before you order a lock box. The permit application form can be accessed on the PF&R website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/163319.
When Do I Need to Provide a Lock Box
If any of the following criteria applies to your building, a lock box may be required:
- Multi-family housing with restricted access
- Moorages with restricted access
- Chronic false alarms
- Any building at owner’s request
- Any structure where access is unduly difficult, or where immediate access is necessary for saving lives or firefighting purposes
- Commercial buildings without 24 hour on-site security or with restricted access
Which Keys Should Be Included in a Lock Box
An entry key for the building, preferably the main entrance key, should be included. If applicable, please include keys for the alarm room, any locked stairwells, the elevator room, the mechanical rooms, and the sprinkler control rooms. NOTE: All keys MUST be labeled appropriately!
How Secure Will My Keys Be in a Lock Box
The ONLY access key to the lock box is carried on PF&R emergency response apparatus. The Knox® system requires a very high-security key, and cannot be duplicated except by the Knox Company.
Where Can I Purchase a Knox-Box® / Knox Lock
First, you will need to purchase the permit from the Portland Fire Marshal's office. You may go to the office to get the permit, or the permit may be mailed. The Fire Marshal's office is at 1300 SE Gideon St, or you may call (503) 823-3712. After purchasing the permit, you will receive the authorized Knox order form so that you can then order your box directly from the Knox Company. NOTE: Knox will not process an order without a permit number from our office and an authorized signature on the form.
Contact Portland Fire & Rescue’sFire Marshal’s Office by phone at (503) 823-3712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org questions.