Aura Lock & Key Lockbox Services

In compliance with the Alberta Fire Code, The City of Calgary requires any new building to install one of two City of Calgary-approved products:

  • Trac-Vault
  • Trac-Tube

Lock boxes provide emergency responders quick access to a building or business. Lock boxes need to be installed on the exterior wall of the building within close proximity to the main entrance. They must contain all keys or devices required to access the building, including an entrance door key. All keys and devices must be attached to a key ring and their use indicated by an attached tag. 

The Calgary Fire Department maintains a list of approved lock box service companies. Aura Lock & Key (Barlow Lock & Key) is an approved vendor. If you experience problems with your lock box or installation, please contact the company who was responsible for the work.

Calgary Fire Department Lockbox program

If you own commercial space or own/manage a multi-person dwelling in the City of Calgary, Alberta, then you are likely already aware of the Calgary Fire Department Lockbox program and the TRACcess® system.

Effective June 1, 2006, per the Alberta Fire Code (AFC 2.5.1.3), buildings in the City of Calgary were ordered to install approved TRACcess® Fire Department Lockboxes. All buildings with existing old, key operated lockboxes, were required to have their old boxes replaced with the new TRACcess® boxes and any new buildings, require a TRACcess® lockbox prior to obtaining an occupancy permit.

Approved TRACcess® lockboxes need to be installed on the exterior wall of the building within close proximity to the principal entrance.

The Lockbox program provides emergency responders quick access to a building. The lockbox must contain all keys or devices required to access the building and the Fire/Life safety systems. All keys and devices must be attached to a key ring and their use indicated by and attached tag.

More information on The City’s lock box requirements, along with a full list of approved vendors, can be found at:

http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Fire/Pages/Fire-codes/Lock-boxes.aspx

A lockbox needs to be installed on a building with any of the following:

  • A fire alarm system where it's control features, including emergency voice communication systems, are located behind a locked pane.
  • manually operated devices require a key or device to be reset.
  • the electrical circuit breaker is located within a locked panel or room.
  • An automatic sprinkler system where the main control valve is locked in the open position or if it's located within a locked room or enclosure.
  • Standpipe and water supply connections are in a locked room or area such as a roof
  • A key operated elevator control feature that permits exclusive use of elevators to fire fighting personnel or that will switch selected elevators to operate on emergency power.
  • Stairway doors that have been locked on the stairway side.
  • Roof access doors that are locked.

Aside from the above list, a fire marshal may suggest you have a lockbox for your own protection and peace of mind. If you’ve been directed to install a lockbox, it is highly recommended you do so.

Once you have a lockbox installed, it becomes a fire apparatus for the building and cannot be removed under any circumstance. If you move to another building, you cannot take the lockbox with you.

Calgary has a certain type of lockbox that they only approve of for their lockbox program and at the time of this article, were the only city in Alberta to use the TRACcess® technology. Other cities will have their own programs and preferred lockbox type. For all other locations, you’ll have to speak to the local fire department directly for their lockbox requirements.

TRACcess® Electronic Rapid Entry System is an electronic entry system used in over 100,000 locations worldwide. PIN-code operated, so unauthorized people cannot use lockbox keys and lost or stolen lockbox keys can be disabled, making specific keys unusable. The lockboxes are standalone and require no external power supply or internal batteries. The power is in the key that is carried by the fire department, EMS and the lockbox providers. Lockbox access activity reports provide transparency and accountability, ultimately decreasing risk and liability to your municipality. For more than 50 years, Supra has been a leader in key control systems. The original TRACcess® electronic rapid entry system was specifically developed for fire departments.

TRAC-Vault™

Large enough for several keys or access carts, the TRAC-Vault™ is a tough and durable lockbox constructed of investment cast steel.

Surface-Mount TRAC-Vault™

Affix firmly to a permanent surface with four bolts and appropriate anchors. A through-the-wall mounting kit is available for higher-security applications.

Recessed TRAC-Vault™

Built into brick, stone, or mortar during new construction, the recessed TRAC-Vault becomes part of your building.

TRAC-Tube™

A highly secure and intelligent storage device that can hold two keys and access cards. The TRAC-Tube™ is designed to be recessed in a wall with a minimum thickness of 7-inches, teamed with a stainless-steel construction with special strengthening makes the TRAC-Tube™ extremely resistant to physical attack.

TRACcess® System: Benefits for Rapid Entry

Benefits for fire departments:

  • No more concerns about lost lock box keys.
  • Reduce your municipality’s liability and exposure due to lost lock box keys.
  • Access locked properties quickly and easily, eliminating wait times
  • Avoid potential firefighter injury from forced entry.
  • Eliminate the need to carry bulk rings of property-owner keys.
  • Obtain automated reports detailing when any key box is opened, and who opened it.
  • Creative programs can help make your lock box program sustainable over the long term.
  • Administering your lock box program is efficient and straightforward.

Benefits for property owners:

  • Property owner’s welcome programs that ensure their tenants’ property and safety are not at-risk due to substandard lockbox products.
  • Emergency response personnel are better equipped to rapidly respond to an emergency in their building without sacrificing safety or security.
  • Eliminate the potential for thousands of dollars of forced entry costs with a low-cost investment and annual commitment.
  • Help protect your firefighters against unnecessary—and potentially dangerous—entry delays and injuries.
  • Satisfy local fire codes and ordinances.
  • Lock boxes are UL certified for attack resistance, satisfying insurers coast to coas

The City of Calgary has a few companies that are contractually obligated to enforce and maintain the lockbox program. Only these select few companies can supply, install, open and maintain the lockboxes approved for the lockbox program. Once a company is selected for your lockbox, only they can operate that particular lockbox. You are welcome to switch to another lockbox provider but there are fees associated with that transfer.

Your lockbox provider will have you sign a lockbox agreement as well as fill out a data sheet that will be forwarded to the fire department for their records.

Each lockbox provider is responsible for setting their own fees for the supply and install of lockboxes as well as the annual fees associated with the inspections or any updates or changes to the inventory of a lockbox. These fees may vary greatly from one provider to another and are based on many factors.

The fees that lockbox providers charge is their standard fee and should not change on a per customer basis, unless they add additional charges for fuel or extra time. Some lockbox providers will offer a complimentary visit during the lockbox year if you need to make an update to the lockbox inventory.

There are only a few providers available, so shop around if you need a lockbox. Just remember the fees associated with the lockbox program do not indicate what level of service you’ll receive from the lockbox provider and as a rule, it is advisable to chose a lockbox provider who can also provide you with locksmith services or who is recommended by someone you know.

For more information on what lockbox providers there are, please call 3-1-1 in Calgary or visit the Calgary.ca website.

Calgary has enacted a mandatory inspection program for your lockbox; every six-months, your lockbox must be inspected.

During an inspection, the lockbox provider will make sure the stickers and exterior marking are still visible and properly reflective for the fire department to locate. The installation of the lockbox will be checked to make sure it has not been pried or has loosened from the anchors and that there hasn’t been any tampering. The lockbox provider will open the lockbox and tighten any loose parts if discovered.

The inventory of the lockbox is then checked to make sure that the keys marked for specific doors do indeed still operate the locks on those doors. In some cases, not all the keys can be tested during an inspection and it is therefore the customers responsibility to inform the lockbox provider of any changes or recent updates to your locking systems.

After a lockbox inspection, your lockbox provider should send you a report.

If you just bought or started managing a building with an existing lockbox installed, you’ll now become the party responsible for the lockbox and the lockbox provider will continue the required service, however, you’ll be responsible for the fees associated with the program.

The customer, whether that be the landlord, tenant or managing company, is responsible for participating in the lockbox program, paying all associated fees and advising the lockbox provider of any changes or key updates required for the lockbox. Non-compliance in any sort means you’ll be in violation of the Alberta Fire code and subject to hefty fines, court appearances or even complete shut-down of your operations.

For more information on your responsibilities, please search the Queen’s Printer for the Alberta Fire code or call 3-1-1 and request an appointment with a fire marshal.

In conclusion, if you are a business owner, property manager or landlord for a multi-tenant dwelling in the City of Calgary, chances are you’ll likely need an approved lockbox for the fire department.

Fore more information, please call locally to 3-1-1, visit the Calgary.ca website, or contact us for more information.