Lockbox program in West Richland will help first repsonders save - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lockbox program in West Richland will help first repsonders save lives faster

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WEST RICHLAND, WA-  Emergency responders at Benton County Fire District 4 will be able to help certain people with medical issues faster, thanks to a new lockbox program. 

It is called the Lockbox Program.  Homeowners with medical conditions can use it, so first responders can easily get inside. 

Fire Chief William Whealan and his crew responded to a local resident with medical issues.  To make it easier to get in, the woman would leave her door unlocked. 

"So I thought what can we do to alleviate that problem.  We thought about looking at what the realty industry is doing, because we know that that's been very successful with them," said Whealan.

Users can put their keys inside the lockbox hang it on their door.  When they call for help, firefighters will come and use bluetooth technology or an e-key to open the box to get the spare key.

"It saves a lot of time if somebody has a heart attack or stroke," said Marvin Calkins, senior at West Richland Senior Center.

Another example is Judy Calkins' friend, Betty.  She said Betty fell in the basement and called for help.
      
"The paramedics came out and they knew she had the lockbox that has a key on her door so that they could get in," said Calkins.

Otherwise, they would have had to break down the door which could slow down the process and cause a lot of damage.

Only the fire department knows the access code and every time a box is open, an email report is sent to Chief Whealan.  It tells him who got in, what time, and why.  Whealan said his grandmother fell and broke her hip.
     
"There were times when she got older that she could've used something like this," said Whealan.

This project is a bigger part of their program, FD CARES.  To learn more about these lockboxes, you can contact Benton County Fire District 4 at 509-967-5222 or contact Whealan at wwhealan@bcfd4.org. 

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