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Officials tell senior citizens about proper 911 protocol

News-Times, News-Times
Published 1:00 am, Thursday, October 28, 2004
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BROOKFIELD - Joan Oberg knows the importance of emergency services.

"My husband has had five heart attacks and one triple bypass," Oberg said. She and her husband, Dick, moved from Newtown to Brooks Quarry in Brookfield. "I've taken about eight rides in ambulances, so I know the procedures," Oberg said. "It's very important to have medicines ready when they come and when you have chest pain, it's best to call immediately." Brookfield Police Capt. Maureen Will and Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department members Pam Owen, Eric Handau and Erik Maziarz made a presentation on safety - including when to call 911 - to residents of the complex, where residency is restricted to senior citizens and people with disabilities. "Please use 911 if you need it," Will said. "If you're frightened, you're hurt, or if someone else is hurt. This is a great community and we want to make sure you take care of one another." Will also encouraged audience members to make sure they attach a copy of the Save-A-Life form to their refrigerator. The form should include up-to-date information about medications, illnesses and next of kin. She especially stressed the need for medical personnel to know whether a person has aphasia, which can cause an inability to use words coherently due to a stroke or brain impairment. Save-A-Life forms are available at the ambulance barn at Routes 25 and 133, at the Brookfield Department of Social Services and at the Brookfield Police Department. A form is also available from social services that will allow people to write advisory notices that pop up with their addresses when they call 911 for emergency services, alerting personnel to illnesses such as aphasia and epilepsy. The seminar was important because older people are often timid about calling for help. "Most of the time, our seniors aren't really sure when to call 911," Will said. Will also said that elderly people sometimes make the mistake of waiting to call 911 because they aren't properly dressed, or they want to try to make a trip to the bathroom first. Handau said that in life-threatening situations, it's best to "come as you are." Handau listed some reasons people should call 911: chest pains accompanied by jaw pain, back pain, or vomiting; passing out; and confusion. "It may seem like a big deal to you because you're not used to having four people in your house, but to us, it's business as usual and we will do everything we can to make you better," Handau said. Will said a lot of time, people are concerned that their homes won't be locked up after they are taken away by ambulance. "As law enforcement, we will make sure your house is locked up and we make sure you have your purse or wallet," Will said. "If you don't feel good, call us, don't call your neighbor, don't call your friend. Call us."

Contact Kamilla Gary

at kgary@newstimes.com

or at (860) 354-2274.