Waid wants businesses to install lock boxes

Posted 7/20/19

SUMITON – Fire Chief David Waid wants the Sumiton City Council to support a plan to request local businesses to install lock boxes. “We had an alarm at the Bevill State (Community College) 1400 …

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Waid wants businesses to install lock boxes


SUMITON – Fire Chief David Waid wants the Sumiton City Council to support a plan to request local businesses to install lock boxes.

“We had an alarm at the Bevill State (Community College) 1400 building on Sunday morning and we couldn’t get in,” Waid said at Tuesday's council meeting. “We don’t have keyholders anymore.” 

Key holders are people that the fire department can contact to gain access to businesses. Examples of multi-building businesses include Bevill State, Sumiton Christian school, the Sumiton Middle and Elementary schools, as well as local churches.

If the fire department receives an alarm and they have no access, they have two options.

“We can bust the door down and do damage to the building so that we can get in and evaluate it,” he said. “Nine out of 10 times there’s not a fire.” The second option, they don’t go in and there is an actual fire that causes damage to the building, according to Waid.

For larger businesses with multiple buildings, Waid proposes they have one large lock box that contains the labeled keys for all the buildings. The fire department would have one key to the master lock box which contains the keys for any building that has an active alarm.

The cost for these lock boxes is from $500 to $600 each. Ellis and Waid plan to send a letter to the large businesses in the area and request that they participate in the Lock Box Program so that the fire department can respond to alarms more efficiently.

“It’s not our place to pay for their protection,” Ellis said. “In order to give them the kind of protection they would want, this would be something they would want to participate in.” 

Waid explained that the fire department would have a single key that would fit all the lock boxes in the city. “We don’t want to require lock boxes because it gets expensive, but at the end of the day, we are limited in our options if we can’t get someone to come open it up for us,” Waid said.

In other action, the council: 

• Reviewed the plans for a local resident B.J. Phillips to build a mini subdivision off of Main Street on the old Kay Fowler property. This proposal came before the last regular city council meeting on July 2, but was tabled pending answers to questions regarding layout. The issues were addressed with engineer Robert Nelson and Phillips, resolving the issues.. The council approved the plans for the mini subdivision.

• Approved $500 to support this year’s City of Light’s Back2School Bash that gives free backpacks to area children who are heading back to school.

• Tabled a request to send city employees to a Loss Control Seminar until the council can get answers to questions about the seminar and which employees should attend. 

• Heard and approved a request for an on-premises license to sale alcohol for the Taste of the Bayou Cajun Grill restaurant located at 2200 Highway 78.

Mayor Petey Ellis said that other vendors that have a license to sell alcohol have approached him about allowing Sunday sales. He said it was an issue the council would need to address in the future. Ellis asked City Clerk Judy Glover to research the topic so the council can make an informed decision.

• Discussed a proposal to build a picnic area and play ground on property adjacent to the fire station. Councilman Floyd Burton raised a concern about children crossing the road from the existing ball field which is across the road next to the community center.

The council agreed and discussed putting the playground on property next to the community center. The council agreed that this would make a better option.

Ellis will contact Nelson and have him draw up plans for the new play area.

• Discussed and approved a plan to replace the exterior lighting at the community center. The lighting on the poles in that area has been problematic. The council discussed a plan to replace those lights with LED lights which are more reliable. The cost for replacing the 17 lights is $11,050.

• Heard Ellis’ request to schedule a work session for the council to discuss pay raises for city employees.