SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Fire department must have rapid access to buildings during an alarm


May 09, 2006
Tuesday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - "Fire Prevention and the prevention of catastrophic fire loss are two of our most important jobs here at the Ketchikan Fire Department," said Jim Hill who is the Assistant Fire Chief of the Ketchikan Fire Department.

Hill said, "As professional firefighters, we pride ourselves in our rapid response times and our thorough knowledge of hazards in our surrounding community. The fire we prevent may not only save the lives and property of our tax-paying public, but it may be the fire that injures or kills one of us." He said, "Over the years, thousands of people have died and there have been billions of dollars in lost revenue because of fire and its effects on the rest of the community. The City of Ketchikan is no exception."

"The fire department must be able to gain rapid access to buildings during an alarm," said Hill. "Failure to do so can cause delays in the discovery and suppression of hostile fires that could not only destroy a local business, but the fire could spread (especially in our downtown area) and cause catastrophic damage to the other businesses around it. The results would affect all of us economically as well as threaten the lives of our residents and visitors."

"Reporting your local contact information is not only good common sense, it is a requirement." said Hill. "Accurate local contact information must be reported to our local police and fire department dispatch centers. Building owners are required by law to maintain current keys in their key boxes. These small steps will assist in preventing a delayed response to your emergency," said Hill.

"During an emergency if we do not have current and accurate information to contact a responsible party, or the correct keys are not in the key box, the fire department will have to use forcible-entry in order to gain access to buildings, said Hill. "This is the only way we can ensure that all of the businesses in our community are safe."

Hill said, "To make sure we all have a prosperous summer-season and to prevent unnecessary loss of business and revenue for the City of Ketchikan, The Ketchikan Fire Department must have up-to-date information and the proper access tools in the event of an alarm in our local businesses." He said, "During the summer of 2006 Ketchikan's fire crews and the fire marshal will be visiting local establishments to make sure of fire-code compliance. In the event of fire alarms at local businesses we will need quick access and, should the need arise we will gain access by whatever means necessary to ensure the safety of your business and the surrounding establishments. In the event of alarms with extended delays due to our inability to gain access to businesses, we will be forced to charge businesses for crew and apparatus time-on-scene. Remember, the longer the emergency crew is at your business waiting for you to gain access, the longer they are not available for another emergency."

"We all need to be fire prevention smart," said Hill. "We all need to do our part to protect our city, our citizens, and our businesses from the affects of fire."

For more information regarding fire prevention, Key Boxes, general fire prevention tips, and owner/operator contact information, you can contact: Assistant Fire Chief Jim Hill or Fire Marshal Richard Tombaugh at 225-9616 or you can email Hill at or Tombaugh at

You can also visit the Ketchikan Fire Department's website for more fire prevention information.



Source of News:

Ketchikan Fire Department

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