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Protecting the Elderly and At-Risk Popluation During Outbreak

By Charlotte Smith

Many in the area have concerns for the elderly and the at-risk population during the COV-19 outbreak. Several years ago, Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and other partners put in place the “Are You OK” program. The program is a safety check system for seniors and anyone who is disabled, handicapped, or homebound.

The local partnership program involves the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Division on Aging, Department of Social Services, Health Department, Emergency Medical Services, and local Fire and Police  Departments.

A daily telephone call goes out to individuals enrolled in the program. A recorded message is heard. The person responds to the message that they are ok; they can hang up the phone.  If a resident does not answer a deputy will follow up with a pre-designated neighbor who has agreed to assist the at-risk person. If further help is needed, law enforcement, emergency medical service, and fire department personnel will be dispatched to the location, according to the program details.

Participants can choose the time of the daily call. Local citizens can enroll in the program by calling 910-862-6960. An application and waiver of liability are required for enrollment, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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