CORNING, NY (WETM) – When firefighters respond to an emergency, sometimes they need access into the building. But without a key, they have to break in, which can mean crucial minutes lost.

That’s why the Corning Joint Fire District announced that they are proud to be apart of the Knox-Box Rapid Entry System. Knox-Boxes are made of solid steel and can hold house keys, blueprints, medications, and more that could assist a first responder in an emergency. The Knox-Box goes outside of your home or business for the firefighters to get access to in case of an emergency.

The fire department has a master key that is stored in the fire truck. The key can only be retrieved with a passcode for security. Randy “Mike” Brenning, Corning Joint Fire Chief, says that this program can save lives.

“We did a medical that the ambulance services didn’t have entry, could hear the resident calling for help, we also run the medical calls so we responded, used the Knox-Box, opened the door, got in, a medical issue is taken care of and everything was good,” Brenning said.

Brenning says in the past, they have stored people’s house keys in their fire station. But this program would allow the firefighters to use one key for all residents, meaning it would be quicker, safer, and more efficient.

“You came on the fire truck, somebody’s got to remember to get them off the wall, so on and so forth, so this system is so much more full-proof and so much more safe,” Brenning said.

The East Corning Fire District has been using this system for several years before they became the Corning Joint Fire District, according to Brenning. He said that places like Corning Hospital and the Corning Country Club are apart of this program, and they have been able to gain entry into buildings without having to cause any destruction.

If you are interested in purchasing a Knox-Box call the Fire Commissioner’s Office at (607) 936-6114 ext 8.