MABAS-IL Change-of-Quarters Knox-Box® System

Fire departments anticipating being tied up for a length of time on a multiple alarm fire or another large or complicated incident often (and should) include Change-of Quarter (COQ) companies on their MABAS Box Alarm Cards in order to have Mutual Aid departments move into their station(s) to provide response protection for other possible incidents in their village, municipality or district. In “the old days” the hosting department could simply leave their station unlocked so incoming companies could walk right in. But these days, fire stations are advised not to leave their stations open.

In early 2002 MABAS-IL, through the Knox Company, instituted a unique COQ Knox-Box® system to facilitate ease of entry by incoming COQ companies to an otherwise empty station. This a voluntary participation program available to all MABAS-member fire departments in Illinois.

Here’s how it works: Dealing with the MABAS-IL Knox-Box Program Coordinator, a member fire station purchases a small key safe for mounting on the exterior of their station. Once the box is securely mounted, they lock their station key/card/fob/entry code inside the key safe. Incoming COQ companies participating in the program then use their MABAS-IL key to open the key safe to get the key, etc. to then access the station. The simplicity of the program is that participating fire departments have to carry just one statewide COQ program key on their outgoing COQ vehicles to gain access to any and all participating fire stations.



Want to know more about the program? Contact Chief (ret.) Harry Tallacksen via email at or via phone at 815-262-4374.


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