TOWN OF BELOIT - Town officials are encouraging elderly residents to install a Knox Box to stay safe and improve their home's security.
Fire Chief Gene Wright said the Knox Box is a container that stores the key to a residence or business. Only that municipality's fire department can open the container in the event of an emergency.
Wright said most businesses and schools in the town have a Knox Box in case of a break-in, fire or other emergency. However, a Knox Box also could benefit residents who may have a hard time getting to the door during an emergency or who may leave their house vacant for an extended period of time. With the cold Wisconsin winters Wright said there are quite a few snow birds in the Stateline Area who flee to warmer climates this time of year.
"It's really a safety measure for them," Wright said. "If they can't make it to the door, or if they're not home it allows us to get in without breaking a window or breaking down a door."
He said the investment of $174 could save residents money in the long run in the event firefighters or paramedics would have to break into a home. It also ensures the residence remains secure, since repairing the broken door or window could take time.
The Knox Box company is the organization that installs the box, then the fire department locks the box once the resident's key is placed inside. Wright said a few residents have installed Knox Boxes on their homes for increased safety. In the town, Wright said his staff has to break into at least a few homes every year.
This spring, the police and fire departments plan to visit the town's neighborhoods to inform residents about how to stay safe, avoid scams and obtain a Knox Box. For more information on how residents can obtain a Knox Box, Wright recommends contacting the fire department. The department is at 2445 S Afton Road, and the main line is 608-364-2997.