EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Many of us have older relatives that we are concerned about and need to check-in with on a regular basis.
The Effingham County Sheriff's Office is helping erase some of that worry with a program that automatically alerts deputies if they can't be reached. It's called "Are You Ok?" and we have more information in this week's "Don't be a Victim" report.
"It's an electronic program that automatically calls and they have to physically do something on the phone - pushing a certain number that randomly is selected each time they call. If they don't answer on the third call, then we are dispatched out there," explained Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie. McDuffie says his deputies are often called to do welfare checks on older residents, and sometimes that call comes too late.
"We just had, in the last few days, we had two of them that were found at home. Both were deceased," McDuffie said.
That's the reason why the sheriff is encouraging residents to take advantage of the "Are You Ok" program. He says he realized the importance of a program like this after responding to a call and finding an elderly woman who had fallen and had been lying outside her home for over a day.
"We can set it up to call night or day, as many times that they want to call. I even heard one story a lady used it for her medication. She knew she had to take her medicine at nine o'clock, and when that call was over, she went and took her medicine," McDuffie said.
The program stores contact and other important information about those who sign up.
"It also lets us know if they have pets. We can even enter doctor information that way if we found them in a medical emergency, it helps us move a little
quicker in getting them the help they need," Deputy Walt Lawson said.
The program is free, but you do need to have a landline. If you are interested in signing up, you can call the Effingham County Sheriff's Office at 912.754.3449.