WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Wichita Falls Fire Department suggested new fire code changes at the city council meeting Tuesday. Those changes would require more of businesses but the department says everyone would come out better for it.
The new fire code would require all businesses with fire alarm systems to also have a lockbox with a key for firefighters to use for entry when they get a structure fire alert.
Fire Chief Ken Prillaman says his team is often forced to decide whether to break the door down for inspection or to treat it as a false alarm. He suggested lock boxes could solve all of this.
“The whole purpose of the key box is to gain access,” said Prillaman. “Go inspect and verify that there is not an active fire without causing any damage to the building and then lock the building up upon our completion.
Although some councilors were concerned with the extra cost for the box during the pandemic, it ultimately could save owners the cost of a new door.
“Fire crews don’t like the issue of potentially leaving behind a fire and I wouldn’t either if I was still riding the truck,” said Prillaman. “We want to provide not only that courtesy to the owner, the neighbors or other businesses that may be attached to that structure some assurance that if we come out for an alarm that we’ve done everything to make sure that there isn’t an active fire.”
Other possible code revisions included fines for false alarms and required alarm monitoring service.