5.09 Lockbox Program – Guideline for New Exterior and Replacement Lockboxes

Reference: 2019 San Francisco Fire Code, Section 506

Purpose: The purpose of this administrative bulletin is to describe the San Francisco Fire Department’s lockbox program. Lockboxes are hardened steel vaults that are mounted on the exterior of buildings that hold keys to the building so that the Fire Department may efficiently access unattended buildings after hours, while greatly diminishing the necessity to cause damage to buildings from forcible entry.

Scope: Although the San Francisco Fire Code authorizes the Fire Department to require a lockbox, in most instances, the installation of a lockbox is voluntary. New and Existing Hazardous (H) occupancies and Laboratory (L) occupancies and Business Lab (B) occupancies are required to have lockboxes installed unless exempted in writing by the Fire Marshal.

I. Approved Product: The new approved lockbox is the TRAC-Vault by UTC Fire & Security. For certain locked gate applications, the TRAC-Padlock is the approved product. The TRAC-Vault is UL listed to be tamper resistant and provides an audit trail that tracks access to the lockbox.

II. How Does It Work? A building owner installs, or arranges for installation, of a TRACVault on the exterior of the building at the main entrance point. Entry to the TRAC-Vault requires the insertion of an electronic keypad device that requires a PIN code to be entered. Only the San Francisco Fire Department will have access to the TRAC-Vault lockboxes.

III. How to Obtain a Lockbox: Lockboxes may be obtained by completing an order form that may be downloaded from our website: TRACcess Rapid Entry Order Form or picked up at SFFD Fire Department Headquarters, 698 2nd St., Rm. 109. The completed order form shall be sent with payment directly to UTC Fire & Security (information on order form). UTC Fire & Security will send the lockbox directly to the customer.

IV. How to Install a Lockbox: The lockbox shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions in close proximity to the main entrance to the building (within 10 ft. on either side of the door). The box shall be mounted not less than 4.0 ft. and not more than 6.0 ft. in height. After installing the TRAC-Vault, the two stickers sent with the lockbox shipment shall be applied to the following locations: A. White reflective sticker - On the lockbox cover such that it does not obscure the serial number at the bottom of the faceplate. B. Red sticker - On the upper right or left side of the main entrance door, signifying which side of the entrance the lockbox is installed.

V. Keys and Key Marking: It is the responsibility of the building owner to purchase and label the keys according to the list below. Keys shall be provided with color-coded permanent and durable tags or “key caps”. This shall be completed prior to calling the fire department to place the keys in the lockbox.

  • A. Key to the main entrance door (As a security precaution, should not be a master key to all doors in the building). GREEN
  • B. Fire alarm cabinet or room (where a fire alarm exists in the building), OR, the Building Control Station (Fire Control Room) in a high-rise building. RED
  • C. Sprinkler shutoff room (where a sprinkler system exists in the building). BLUE
  • D. Elevator recall keys (where the building has an elevator with elevator recall function).YELLOW
  • E. Firefighter air system cabinets or rooms (where the building has a firefighter air system).ORANGE

VI. Placing Keys in Lockbox: After the installation of the box is complete and the keys have been properly labeled, they are ready to go into the lockbox. The building representative should do the following:

A. Complete a Request to Activate TRAC-Vault or TRAC-Padlock Form, available on the San Francisco Fire Department website, or in person at 698 Second St., Room 109, and submit it with payment for two hours of inspection (see form for correct amount) via U.S. Mail, or in person at:

Lockbox Support Group
Bureau of Fire Prevention
San Francisco Fire Department
698 Second St., Rm. 109
San Francisco, CA 94107

B. Call (415) 558-3276 and request to schedule an inspection of the lockbox installation.

VII. Notification Requirements: When the building management or owner re-keys or replaces any of the locks for the keys in the key box, it is the building owner’s responsibility to notify the fire department of the change so that the appropriate keys can be changed out. Adding or removing keys from the lockbox should be coordinated through the District Fire Inspector. Building ownersmay call (415) 554-8927 to obtain the phone number of the District Fire Inspector. There is no charge for this service.

Questions: Questions about the lockbox program may be addressed by calling the Lockbox Support Group at (415) 558-3276.