National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Monday, June 25, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 -Locked Door Access

1) Regarding tomorrow's question about first responder access to locked electrical rooms. Most fire companies have a Knox Box program. It is a lock box placed on the exterior of the building that has a special key that the fire department has that will allow access to a set of keys for the building. I would recommend talking to the local fire company to make sure you would order the correct box. Otherwise if necessary fire fighters will use their "universal key" to gain access if absolutely necessary. Regards, Jeff

2) FYI In our area, we installed KNOX boxes at bldg entrances for first responders to have access to keys for the facilities JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

3) This question reminded me of a previous amusing situation.  I worked at a local state university where we gave the local fire department master keys to the buildings.  During a major dormitory fire, the first responders used their own master key a FIREMANS AX, gaining access to all necessary rooms.  Why look for a key when you have an ax in hand? Keep up the good work. Have a good day!! Lowell I. (Laddie) Wolfe Jr.



Hey Guys thanks for your comments. Knox Box one specific manufacturer of lock or secure boxes that can contain the keys or codes to locked doors. You have some good points and there are advantages and possible disadvantages to giving others quick access to buildings and equipment. The NEC does not prohibit nor require them so it is left to others to determine if they will be installed.

ABOUT CQD: NECA’s Code Question of the Day (CQD) is a leading National Electrical Code® forum for NECA and the industry. The CQD generates a lively dialogue and relative practical and Code-based responses to an ever-increasing and interactive audience.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All answers are based on the latest edition of the National Electrical Code®, unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition. This correspondence is not a formal interpretation of the NEC®. Any responses expressed to the questions are opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of NECA, NFPA, or any technical committee. In addition, this correspondence is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services.

ABOUT CHARLIE: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Charlie was also a member of NECA’s Academy of Electrical Contracting. Charlie’s experienced team of industry experts keep the CQD dialogue and discussions active and informative in the spirit of the man himself, as he wanted.

NECA STANDARDS: NECA publishes the National Electrical Installation Standards™ (NEIS™), a series of ANSI-approved performance and quality standards for electrical construction. Visit for more information. NEISÔ can be purchased in three formats: as paper books, on CD, or as electronic downloads.

NECA SAFETY PRODUCTS: NECA publishes valuable electrical safety books and CDs for the industry. Visit to view or purchase NECA safety products.

 CONTACT US: To submit a Code question, subscribe, or unsubscribe from this list, please e-mail: