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Knox Locks Info

The Knox Security System required by the El Dorado County Fire District provides access to fenced gated areas and business occupancies without the use of bolt cutters, axes or other forcible entry tools.

There is no need to carry numerous keys or lock combinations which take up space, are subject to being lost or destroyed and takes up valuable time attempting to find the correct key or combination.

High Security Systems

The Knox high security system is comprised of a tamper proof box made of heavy steel. It can be bolted to or built into the building near the main entrance and/or the Fire Riser Room door. Building keys for each occupancy are provided by the owner or occupant. They are identified and placed into the box which is locked by fire district personnel. The single high security key carried by the fire personnel who open the high security Knox boxes are locked in each engine by special Knox security system. To release the high security key requires communication with our dispatch center. This system prevents the unauthorized use of the high security key. Neither building owners nor occupants have the ability to gain access into the Knox box. An application for a High Security Knox box is available from the District Office for an additional fee.

Any high security Knox Boxes for commercial properties can be obtained online at and go under the El Dorado Co Fire Prot District. For gates and low security locks, please use the El Dorado Co Sheriff–GATES option.

When the engine arrives at the location of the fire alarm or other emergency, and no one is present, the engine company captain contacts the dispatch center who releases the High Security Knox key. He opens the High Security Knox box on the building and removes the necessary keys to make entry into the building. When the building is secure the engine will relock premises, return all building keys to the Knox box and re-secure the High Security Knox key inside the engine.

Low Security Systems

The low security Knox system is different from the High Security system in that it provides access through gates of fenced areas by fire service and law enforcement personnel. The Low Security key cannot open the High Security Knox Boxes. Tamper proof pad locks make up the majority of low security systems. These pad locks may be “daisy chained” as an additional link into the chain which allows other users who use their locks as links into the chain to gain access to the property. In cases where there is only one other user the Low Security pad lock may be part of a “clamshell” which is purchased by the user allowing either padlock to open the gate mechanism. These locks are used on non-electric gates. Again the Low Security system does not provide access to buildings just property. An application for a Low Security Knox padlock(s) is available at the District Office for an additional fee.

Electric Gates

Fire Service and law enforcement personnel can enter onto private property through electric gates by way of the Knox key switch system which is wired into the electric gate. A low security key is inserted into the key switch, turned clockwise to the stop and when returned to the original position the gate will open and then close after a predetermined period of time. If the key is inserted, turned clockwise to the stop and removed, the gate will open and remain open. To close the gate a low security key must be inserted into the switch and turned counterclockwise to the original position.