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Springfield firefighters start lock box business for first responders to get into homes


May 07–Two Springfield firefighters started a company to address a common problem they encountered on emergency runs — paramedics locked outside of patients' homes.

As veteran, full-time firefighters/paramedics for the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division, Rob Fenwick and Vince McCoy have responded to countless 9-1-1 calls where people have fallen inside of their homes, but can't be reached quickly because of locked doors.

“We could see them through the window, laying on the floor, but we couldn't get to them,” McCoy said.

Life alert systems call 9-1-1 for patients, Fenwick said, but can't open doors when the medics arrive.

Paramedics sometimes break windows or doors to gain access to homes if no one in the neighborhood has a spare key.

That sparked the idea for their company, Secure-A-Key. The business installs lock boxes on the exterior of homes. A four-digit combination opens the box, which contains a key and medical information about the resident.

Secure-A-Key gives the combination to the lock box to local 9-1-1 dispatch centers, McCoy said, so emergency crews can access the home's keys.

“It's peace of mind for my mother and for us as a family,” said Debbie Downing, who had Secure-A-Key install a box at her mother's home in Springfield.

Her mother fell last year and medics couldn't immediately attend to her because her house was locked, Downing said.

“Before my dad passed away we had promised him we'd take care of mom and one of our promises has been met by putting the key box in for her,” she said.

Secure-A-Key was founded earlier this year and has installed boxes at more than 100 homes across the Miami Valley, Fenwick said.

The company recently pitched their services to Comfort Keepers, an in-home care provider that was founded in Springfield but now has more than 700 locations across the country.

Comfort Keepers Miami Valley liked the product and the idea that certified firefighters and paramedics installed the system and also checked resident's smoke detectors, Fenwick said, so they began a partnership.

They've installed lock boxes from Sidney down to West Chester, Fenwick said, and will soon expand to the Columbus area.

The boxes are weatherproof and secure, the company said.

The device is useful for seniors, but can also be a way for any homeowner to have an extra key on hand.

“We've installed them for some families who want their kids to have a key just in case,” McCoy said.

For more information on Secure-A-Key's services you can visit their website at secureakey.com.


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