Tyler County is saving lives by asking are you ok?

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It's a simple question, "Are you OK?" Having it answered, could save the lives of senior citizens, or those with disabilities, who are experiencing a medical emergency.

It's the welfare check of the 21st century. A computer calls each person in it's database everyday. When it doesn't get an answer it sets off an alarm.

The 'Are you OK?' Program. Paid for by government grants, it's free peace of mind for the elderly and disabled. Gail Raines with the sheriff's office says anyone in Tyler County can sign-up.

"Who stay alone. Have nobody to come by and check on them," said Raines.

Tyler County resident Becky Vandenberg worries about her 81 year old dad, who lives alone. She calls often to check on him, but this program eases her fears.

"A call from somebody at maybe 8 or 9 AM in the morning to see if he made it through the night OK," said Vandenberg.

If a call goes unanswered, an alert goes out at the Tyler County Emergency Dispatch Center.

As soon as dispatch is notified there could be cause for concern a deputy is sent out to check on the source of the alert.

Inside Woodville city limits, a police officer will respond.

"We will send someone out there to check on them to make sure they're ok," said Raines.

When asked if checking on every alert was a hassle for law enforcement, Raines says it's the exact opposite. A similar system used years ago in the county, saved lives.

"There was an elderly gentleman that one time the phone called - there was no answer. We sent a deputy out and they found him on the ground," said Raines.

The man's blood pressure had dropped and he couldn't get to a phone to call for help.

Tyler County seniors spending time at the nutrition center say the program will do a lot of good.

"It's always a positive when people look out for each other - help out. Cause who knows?" said one Tyler Co. Senior Citizen.

Becky Vandenberg thinks it's perfect for her dad.

"Make me feel more confident if I had to go out of town that somebody could get to him quickly and help him if he needs it," said Vandenberg.

It's never a hassle to ask 'Are you OK?' if it saves a life.

If you are interested in signing up yourself or a loved one, stop by the Tyler County Judicial Center. You can even designate a specific time for the system to call each day.

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