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Call Reassurance Now Serving Kings County

 

Kings County Sheriff's Department Commander Kris Zuniga at the CARE service computer.

The new Call Reassurance (CARE) service is now serving seniors in Kings County.

"It is installed; it is up and running; and it has been tested," said Kings County Sheriff's Department Commander Kris Zuniga, whose department operates the new service.

CARE is a telephone system that contacts the elderly and handicapped to ensure their well-being. When necessary, the program can provide emergency notifications to all those who sign up.

"Call Reassurance does some of the same things that RUOK did, but with 21st century technology, it's much better," Zuniga explained in a previous interview, adding that the new system allows the department to reach seniors during the kind of "horrendous heat" the South Valley had this past summer. "We can send out reminders to all seniors to stay indoors and drink plenty of water."

The department can also contact seniors about major earthquakes, storms and power outages. "Anything we think they need to be aware of," said Zuniga.

CARE is a major upgrade for the department's RUOK ("Are you OK?") program, which has served seniors in the county for the past 18 years.

The service is offered free of charge by the Kings County Sheriff's Office "to contact senior citizens and/or the disabled that live alone and may not have a family member living locally that can check on them every day," according to the Kings County webpage at http://www.countyofkings.com/services/are-you-ok-ruok-program-.

Users can select a time of day for the RUOK computer to dial their phone number. "All you need to do is pick up your telephone and listen to the prerecorded message," according to the county website. "The computer assumes you are okay if you answer the telephone. Should you be using the phone or could not get to the phone in time, the computer will attempt to make two more calls. If the phone is not answered an 'alert' will be issued in the Emergency Dispatch Center and your emergency contact person will be notified to check on you."

The current challenge for the service is to get more people to sign up.

"We've been putting fliers out," said Zuniga. "We just need a little more outreach."

He added that some seniors tend to be reluctant to use the new service. "It's more the children of those seniors who would be interested."

For more information, visit http://www.countyofkings.com/services/are-you-ok-ruok-program- or call (559) 582-3211 ext. 272.

 

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