Senior Village at SaddleBrooke – Neighbors helping Neighbors

Chuck Sanden, a Senior Village volunteer, works on installing a Golder Ranch Fire Department lockbox for emergency responders.

Chuck Sanden, a Senior Village volunteer, works on installing a Golder Ranch Fire Department lockbox for emergency responders.

Saving lives with lockboxes and 911

Stephanie Thomas

We’ve heard horror stories about traumatic situations brought on by medical emergencies at home. The crisis may involve a person who lives alone and is on the floor, unable to move, or perhaps a person struggling to breathe whose spouse is frantically trying to help. These life and death moments hinge on getting help as soon as possible. A lockbox and a quick call to 911 can make that difference.

What is a lockbox and why do I need one?

A lockbox is a small rectangular metal box that attaches to the wall by your front door and contains a key to your home. In the event of an emergency, the fire department’s first responders will use a special key to open the lockbox, remove your house key and enter your home. This will avoid emergency personnel having to knock down your door or break a window, saving precious minutes.

What is a medical emergency?

* Any fire, even a tiny grease fire in your kitchen, can grow and spread rapidly. Call right away even if you think you can put out the flames on your own.

* A life-threatening medical problem happens and is quickly getting much worse. These include chest pain, choking, difficulty speaking or breathing, numbness, poisoning, sudden intense pain, severe burns, a suicide threat or other serious medical problems.

* You witness a crime or possible crime.

What should I do if I call 911?

* Know your location, especially if you’re calling from a cell phone. If you don’t know where you are, look for buildings, landmarks and street signs.

* Answer the dispatcher’s questions clearly and calmly to help the dispatcher determine what kind of help you need.

* Follow instructions. The dispatcher is trained to help keep you safe and explain how to do first aid while help is on the way.

* If it is at night, turn on the lights in your home to make it easier for first responders to find you.

* If you or other person has advanced directives, power of attorney or other legal documents that detail their wishes for care from the paramedics or hospital, have these ready when help arrives.

What if I call 911 by mistake?

If you call 911 by mistake, do not hang up, but stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is OK and you called by mistake. If you hang up, they may send a police officer or fire truck to your location to investigate if there is a problem.

How do I get a lockbox?

Call the non-emergency phone at the Golder Ranch Fire Department at 520-825-9001, ext. 5 to order and pay for a lockbox (currently priced at $65). Once the lockbox is delivered to you, call Senior Village at 520-314-1042 and request a volunteer to install the lockbox. There is no fee for this service and you do not need to be a member of Senior Village.