New reg to make it easier for first responders to access commercial buildings

ALTAMONT — The board of trustees on Tuesday passed a local law that will make it easier for first responders to access a handful of buildings in the village should the need arise. 

The new law states: “All commercial buildings located within the Village of Altamont having an Alarm System or an Automatic Sprinkler System shall be equipped with a Knox Box.”

Chief Kyle Haines of the Altamont Fire Department estimates that there are approximately 20 commercial buildings in the village, and told The Enterprise by email, “Just about all of them are not open 24 hours, but I don’t know which have alarms.” The new law makes an exception for businesses that operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and have a representative or employee on site at all times.

A Knox Box is a small box affixed to a large or commercial building in which a key to the building is kept for first responders. 

The idea or purpose behind the box is, for example, if there is a call at 2 a.m., and when the police or firefighters, who have a master key to the box, show up and no one is on site to let them into the building, the first responders can use the key in the Knox Box to access the building rather than, say, smash open the front door. 

This way, the first responders don’t have “to wait for somebody to be able to secure the property once the call is cleared,” Trustee Nicholas Fahrenkopf explained during Tuesday’s meeting. 

The new law brings the village into line with Guilderland’s Knox Box requirements.

Businesses have 18 months to comply with the new law.  


Other business

In other business, the board:

— Announced that the village office is open to the public for in-person business; masks are to be worn and only one person at a time will be allowed inside the vestibule;

—  Informed the public that, in August, village residents who have yet to respond to the federal census will be contacted by census workers. The village response rate is still in the low 70-percent range, Mayor Kerry Dineen said on Tuesday. “So we need to do a little better to get all the funding that we need,” Dineen said; and

— Approved a renewal of the village’s liability insurance for $50,757.

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