Several years ago, the “Lock Box” program was designed to give emergency workers a quick way to gain entry to the homes of citizens at a high risk of needing emergency assistance (including the elderly, mobility-impaired or those with other disabilities) without causing the damage and expense of forcing entry into their homes during an emergency. The "Lock Box" program provides police, fire and EMS workers with a coded exterior key-box (much like those used by realtors). This method eliminated the need to break doors or windows to reach those inside the home that required immediate assistance.
A Round Rock Police Officer recognized the need for such an alternative after a series of incidents where officers had to break down doors to reach a patient. The program was designed and implemented –with almost no budget or template to follow- to ensure that a policy and procedure was developed that included a resident-screening process and a safe, secure and reliable way for all Round Rock emergency workers to reach those in dire need. The founding Officer of this program, on his own initiative, met with representatives from Lowes Home Improvement Center and Supra Products (the manufacturer of the lock boxes) who donated the first 30 boxes. There are more than 60 homes equipped with the lock-boxes as of August 2006, with more being installed every day.
The applicant-screening process ensures that a resident qualifies for the program and gives emergency workers accurate information about the residents’ medical conditions, emergency contacts, alarms, pets, doctors, etc.; A reflective sticker is placed on the home to let emergency workers know immediately that a lock-box is present.
How the Program Works
When the police department gets a call from a residence equipped with a lock box, the dispatcher relays the lock-box code and other related information to a public safety technician. For security purposes, the code is changed once a lock box has been used to open the door. If the dispatch computer system malfunctions, officers can look up the code manually.
For more information or questions regarding the Lock Box Program, contact
Diane Gargano by email or phone at (512) 671-2858