The proof is in the data | “knox boxes”

Ask for proof! | When somebody makes a spurious blanket statement on social media — like: “knox boxes are required almost everywhere in the country.” Look for the data that supports the statement.

That’s just not true. Let’s look at some facts, as best as possible.

prove it.jpg

According to the US Fire Administration, “There were an estimated 29,727 fire departments in 2015.” And the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) says, “There are an estimated 29,819 fire departments in the U.S.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Fire Department Registry: “There are 27,206 fire departments listed with the National Fire Department Registry. This is about 91 percent of all U.S. fire departments. Registration for the list is voluntary.” And FEMA ought to be a definitive source because fire departments are resources for emergency management agencies across the nation. You’d think we’ reports “2,211 Pennsylvania Fire Departments.” What’s really troubling is that there’s no place that has accurate information.

There’s no way to know how many municipalities have bought into the Knox Box program. One Fire Department we found says that over “11,000 fire departments across the country currently use the Knox-Box Rapid Entry System to prevent costly entry damage while protecting property and lives.”

But … the company that makes and sells the Knox-Box system says this: “the 14,000+ Fire Departments (and government agencies) who have already chosen Knox Rapid Access Solutions.”

To be sure, the Knox Box system has had demonstrated success selling the program to fire departments across the US. The concept makes sense on the surface. What is troubling, though is that the company makes money every time a department influences its municipalities to impose an ordinance requiring mandating the lockbox to be installed. The company posts this at its website: a template that fire departments can use to lead its council or supervisors to introduce legislation and codify the system with an ordinance.

That’s exactly what Columbia did when the Key Lock Box System was buried in the Fire Company Consolidation Ordinance (Ordinance 891- Fire Co Consolidation) in December of 2017.

knox ordinance

See also, this Columbia news, views & reviews article from August, 2018. And this January, 2019 article.

It’s next to impossible to find out just how many departments across the US, the state or even the county have influenced municipalities to pass ordinances. To do that, someone would have to look into the ordinances of every municipality, because it’s unlikely that the Knox Company will provide that information.

We searched the ordinances (Knox and lock) at these municipalities for lock-box ordinances and found:

  • Elizabethtown – no ordinance found
  • Ephrata – no ordinance found
  • Lancaster City – no ordinance found
  • Lititz – no ordinance found
  • Marietta – no ordinance found
  • Manheim – no ordinance found
  • Mount Joy – Lock-box ordinance
  • New Holland – no ordinance found
  • Wrightsville – no ordinance found

Our take away | “knox boxes are NOT required almost everywhere in the country.” 



  1. Black walnuts remind me of mama’s Jam Cake. It calls for a cup or so of blackberry jam and demands caramel icing. I’ll have to take a look at the walnut cake recipe to see how it compares.

    Some folks spread the green walnuts on the driveway and run over them to remove the husk; some sort of small nuclear device is required to crack the inner shell.

  2. Thought about driving over them and should have (after learning what we learned).

    Got a bunch more to do; we’ll see. Planning on using a hammer to open them when the nuts have cured (hopefully around the same time my hands are not stained as badly).

    Yet those little bushy tailed rats, AKA, squirrels, seem to thrive on them. How strong are their teeth and jaws!

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