Jan 25, 2010

Police Department Helps Special Needs Persons

We have created a new program to help families of persons suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. In the event that a person should wander away from home, the police can help find and return the person to where he or she belongs.

The program is called “Safe Return” and gives officers photos and information about key persons in the area who may suddenly disappear.

“We’ve had calls from panicked family members asking for us to find a parent who has wandered off, sometimes in the middle of the night,” says Chief Shawn Walker. “If we have a photo of the individual, description and know something about his behavior patterns, then we can quickly jump to assist the family and find the person – getting him home safely.”

“So we’re asking for assistance from the community. We want to know who in our community could use our help. If a family has an elderly person living with them who may wander away, we would like a color photo, a description of the person and a little information. Just give us a call and we’ll drop by to complete the form – or persons can come to the Police Department at 107 Allenton Street across from Town Hall.”

Pictures and information regarding citizens who have been voluntarily registered in the “Safe Return” program are stored in a confidential file at the Mt. Gilead Police Department and can be accessed only by authorized person. Participation is entirely voluntary.

More than four million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. By the middle of the 21st Century, it may affect as many as 14 million nationwide. The disease is widespread, affecting ten percent or more of the people 65 years or older and nearly half of those over 85. For more information, call 910-439-1855.

Where there's Smoke ...

There's usually fire. And the Mount Gilead Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of some 22 dedicated individuals who really enjoy helping others. That's actually one of the top requirements for being a fireman. You like to help people.

And we're looking for more volunteers. What are some of the attributes we seek?

1) People fighting fires like the thrill of fighting fires - and the thrill of helping people. Yes, it's a rush unlike any other.
2) Some people like to be in the know. And in time of disaster or fire, firemen are among the first to know what's going on.
3) Not everyone likes leadership roles. But a fireman relishes the challenge and is willing to lend a shoulder to carry the responsibility.
4) We go through a lot of training. Few people know that the NC Dept. of Insurance mandates the type of classes we attend - each year. Some are at night. Others on weekends. We learn about all kinds of things. Ladders. Hazmat. Fire behavior. Lots more.
5) We need people who are physically strong.

And, we would really like to have some women and older teenagers join us. So if you have ever wondered what it would be like to be part of a fire department, please give Chief Byrd a call at 910-975-2165.