Lockboxes with keys inside have long been used by businesses and high-rises to give emergency crews access. Now, they're increasingly seen in individual homes, reports USA Today. Suburban communities such as St. Charles County near St. Louis; Covington, Ohio, outside Dayton; and the Phoenix suburb of Avondale are among those with programs. People can check with their police or fire departments to see whether they offer the service, says Jack Parow, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“It makes it a lot easier for us,” Parow says. “It's more of a peace of mind, especially for people who call us a lot.” The boxes typically come in either a combination or key model that can be mounted to the home or hung on the door. Combinations typically are kept in dispatch computers and released to crews en route. Emergency response officials like the idea, because without easy access, first responders must often smash a window or break in a door.