Berea's Safe Seniors program | News
Lockboxes and smoke detectors for senior residents will be offered by the City of Berea, beginning May 1. For seniors who meet eligibility requirements, the equipment and installation will be free.
In cases of emergency, police and fire personnel sometimes must damage doors and windows to gain entry to homes to treat or check on residents. Lockboxes will allow officers to enter the homes with a key provided by the resident.
Lockboxes will be installed at homes on request and will contain house keys and medical information that safety forces might need when responding to a call at the residence.
Seniors will be asked to fill out a form, listing medications, medical conditions, contact numbers and an alarm code if necessary. Only the Berea Police and Fire divisions will have access to the lockboxes.
Safety Director Kenneth Adams said dispatchers will have a list of addresses that have the lockboxes.
When an emergency call comes in and police or fire request the information, the dispatcher will tell officers the location of the lockbox, which can be unlocked only by city safety personnel.
Adams said access to seniors' homes via lockbox would be used only in cases of 911 emergency calls and welfare checks when no other method of gaining entry is available.
Smoke detectors also will be made available to seniors. Firefighters will be assigned the duties of installing both the lockboxes and the smoke detectors.
Residents must be 60 years old or older or disabled to qualify for the program.
For free installation, residents must own and occupy the house and make $28,000 a year or less. For others, the cost will be about $25 for the lockbox and around $9 for the smoke detector.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, people 60 and over make up 20 percent of Berea's population and 50 percent of women 85 and older live alone.
The Safe Seniors program will provide an extra measure of safety and support for Berea's seniors.
The program was put together by a special committee headed by Mayor Cyril Kleem and Ward 4 Councilwoman Cheryl Banaszak.
Members included Council President Mary Brown, Councilman-at-Large Dale Lange, Council-man-at-Large Dean Van Dress, Safety Director Kenneth Adams, Fire Chief Mark Kaufhold, Police Chief Mark Schultz and Housing & Community Services Program Coordinator Megan Pochatek.
Safe Seniors is a joint effort of the Department of Public Safety and the Active Senior Network. Adams said additional services will be available through the Safe Seniors program in the future.
To apply for the program, seniors can contact:
Megan Pochatek at (440) 891- 3316
Ken Adams at (440) 234-6035
or their council representative