Key Box Program

What is a key box?Knox-Box 3200 Series

The Minnesota Sate Fire Code defines a key box as a "secure device with a lock operable only by a fire department master key, and containing building entry keys and other keys that may be required for access in an emergency" (502.1). Key boxes are typically installed on the outside of commercial buildings an contain master keys that allow fire and emergency personnel access to the building. Locks are also available for gates and approved residential properties.

When are key boxes required?

Minnesota State Fire Code requires key boxes "where access to or within a structure or an area is restricted because of secured openings or where immediate access is neccessary for life-saving or firefighting purposes..." (506.1). Examples of where key boxes are commonly installed include:

  • Commercial and industrial structures protected by an automatic alarm system or automatic suppression systems, or such structures tha tare secured in a manner that restricts access during an emergency. 
  • Multifamily residential structures that have restricted access through locked doors and have a common corridor for access to the living units.
  • Governmental structures and nursing care facilities.

Ordering a Key BoxKnox-Box Recess Mount

Effective November 1, 2014, the Fire Department is using the Knox Company for all new key boxes. Order forms can be picked up at the Fire and Building Safety Division (13065 Orono Pkwy) or online. The most popular commercial box is the "3200" series box and it is available in a number of installation configurations. 

All orders must be approved by the fire department to ensure that we have a current listing of all locations that currently have a key box installed. The Fire and Building Safety Division will conduct a site inspection to ensure the location of the key box is suitable.

About the Knox System

The Elk River Fire Department has chosen the Knox-Box system as a means for fire and emergency personnel to gain quick access into buildings. The knox-box itself is a high security vault that is UL listed against physical attack.


Property owners are responsible for the installation of the key box. Building owners should confirm with the Fire and Building Safety Division about the preferred location of the box. An inspector will secure the box, with the appropriate keys provided by the owner, once installation is complete.

Key Replacement

If you already have a Knox-box on your property and need to have the keys added or changed, contact the Fire and Building Safety Division at 763-635-1060.