ELIZABETHTOWN — Sheriff Jim McVicker has announced a new initiative titled “Are You OK?” to help insure the safety and welfare of the elderly and shut-ins of Bladen County.
“I have wanted to get a program in place since the early stages of my tenure as sheriff that would help us better aid those in need,” said McVicker. “In order to do this I have partnered with all three of the local municipal law enforcement agencies (White Lake, Bladenboro and Elizabethtown). I have also been able to get the cooperation of a number of the fire departments and Emergency Medical Services throughout the county.
“The Bladen County Health Department and the Bladen County Division of Aging are also joining us in this program,” he added.
McVicker said the program is designed around an automated telephone system that will allow up to 10,000 participants. Once someone’s name and information is added to the system then the subscriber will receive a telephone call each day at a time designated by the subscriber. The call will verify if the subscriber is OK. If no one answers then the closest law enforcement agency will respond to do a “welfare” check of the residence. If law enforcement is not available then other public safety units will respond and assess the situation.
Subscribers will have to fill out a form that will list all their emergency contacts as well as local key holders. If necessary the responding agency will contact a key holder so they may actually go into the house to check on the well-being of the subscriber.
“Our population is aging and the Baby Boomer generation is contributing to the increase in the number of those over age 65,” said McVicker. “If this program saves one life then it will be worth it. Anyone wishing to become a part of this program should contact the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office at 910-862-6961 and ask for Ms. Sheryl Young. She will be able to provide information for those wishing to subscribe.
“The Sheriff’s office will send someone out to actually retrieve the applications and assist in filling them out,” he added. “This service is being provided at no cost to any resident of the county who is over 65 years old or has dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a cognitive or physical disability.”
This program will be done without any cost to the taxpayers.