Fred A. Mitchell Jr., Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Friday, July 29, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Georgetown Fire Department Implements Residential Lock Box Program
GEORGETOWN – Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. announces that the Georgetown Fire Department is implementing a residential Lock Box Program to expedite access to senior and handicapped adults’ homes during emergencies.
In many emergency situations, individuals who call 911 may not be able to open their door when firefighters arrive, especially if a person falls, has a stroke or is experiencing a heart attack. Currently, firefighters must break through a door or a window, causing damage and costing money and valuable time.
Through the Lock Box Program, participants install a small box outside their home, with a keycode that they and the Fire Department have access to in the event that immediate access into their home is needed. In turn, the likelihood of property damage caused by the firefighters forcing entry into a residence is greatly reduced.
“In these instances, every second counts,” Chief Mitchell said. “Lock boxes are an extremely valuable tool for homeowners and the Fire Department to ensure those who are in an emergency situation, medical or otherwise, receive assistance as quickly as possible.”
Seniors 60 years old and over, who live alone or are left alone on a regular basis, are eligible to participate. The program is funded through a $2,700 grant from the Senior SAFE Program, which is administered through the Department of Fire Services. The grant was written by Donna Robbin, the Fire Department’s SAFE coordinator.
How does the program work?
- Eligible participants should contact the Georgetown Council on Aging to obtain information for installation of the lock box.
- A time and date will be scheduled with the Fire Department for installation of the lock box, at which time a spare house key to the door being accessed will need to be made available.
- The Fire Department will determine the best location for the lock box that allows quick access for firefighters.
- The lock box will only be used during an emergency call when first responders can’t make entry without using force. At no time will the lock box be used or will entry be made without authorization.
- There is no cost to participate in the Lock Box Program, other than the cost of a spare key to the door that will be accessed.
- A participant may withdraw from the Lock Box Program at any time by contacting the Fire Department. The Lock Box will be removed from the residence and the key returned to the participant.
- Participants will be contacted annually to ensure records stay current. (i.e., door locks are changed or resident relocates). If the home is sold the lock box will be returned to the fire department.