MELISSA, Texas - When fire and paramedics answer 911 calls, it's often someone who's fallen and can’t get up.
Doors have to be broken through to get badly-needed medical attention.
The Melissa Fire Department is now unlocking a new program that will keep them from destroying doors while trying to save lives.
The Knox Box, which securely holds a key for access, is nothing new to businesses. All fire departments require them. But the Melissa Fire Department is the first in North Texas to offer the box program for free to the front porch of residents.
It’s called the Residential Knox Box program. A Knox Lock Box goes on the front of homes of people who've opted into the program.
“Each captain has their own individual pin which will unlock this electronic key secure,” explained Melissa Fire Capt. Jake Leonard. “Then, we unlock the key access at the residence. We open the front door without damaging the property.”
“It’s comforting to know that if my husband and I are not here and my in-laws have a fall, they can call,” said Melissa resident Margaret Nobles. “And if they can’t get to the door, then the fire department will be able to get into the house easily and get to them quickly.”
“And on the way out, we can secure the key back in the Knox Box,” Leonard explained. “We take this Knox key, put it back in the key secure. And that was logged right there so you can go to the computer, plug into this, and it will tell you that Captain Leonard just accessed the Knox Box on engine one.”
The Melissa Rotary Club purchased $4,000 in Knox Box so the fire department can give them to residents free of charge.
“We've greatly depleted the first round of our inventory,” said Melissa Fire Dept. Chief Harold Watkins. “Hopefully, we can keep this program going with some other funding means.”
“Time is the issue,” Leonard said. “So the quicker we can get to em, the quicker we can start to save that person.”
“It’s just great comfort to me and my husband to know that the fire department or first responders can get to my in-laws if they need it,” Nobles said.
The fire chief says me he hopes to expand the program to more residents.
To sign up for the Melissa Lock Box Program email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (972) 838-1081.