Artis Senior Living of Brick
Supports Brick Township Police Department kick off “Project Safe Lock” for their senior residents.
Project Safe Lock will allow police to access a resident’s home in an emergency when no one is able to answer the door.
BRICK, NJ — Brick Township police are introducing a program that will allow police to access residents’ homes in an emergency when no one answers the door.
The program, called Project Safe Lock, is a voluntary program where residents receive a free lock box to be placed in a location known only to police and the resident where a copy of the resident’s house key would be placed. Only the police department would have access to the lockbox.
“First responders are often faced with the dilemma of entering a secured residence to render aid to someone who cannot get up to unlock the door,” Brick Sgt. Jim Kelly said in a news release on Wednesday about the program, which was announced Tuesday evening by Brick Township Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero.
“Efforts to enter the residence usually involved searching for emergency contacts or neighbors who can retrieve a key to unlock the door. But sometimes weighing the balance between waiting for a key and rendering emergency aid demands that the front door or a window be pried open to access the patient, thereby causing damage to the home,” Kelly said.
While some people have used a hide-a-key for emergency situations that has not been a foolproof solution.
“Project Safe Lock aims to address this dilemma, providing an option to get into a home quickly without causing damage,” Kelly said.
Project Safe Lock will allow quick access to a residence when time is of the essence, such as a medical emergency where the doors are locked and the patient is unable to get to the door, or during winter months when pipes sometimes burst and the homeowner is out of town.
It is a voluntary program and certain restrictions as to who can obtain a lock box under this program may apply. Police are planning to issue the lock boxes on a case-by-case basis, measuring factors such as living arrangements, age, physical conditions and medical status, Kelly said.
Those interested in the program will be able to apply via an application form on the Brick Police website, or by responding to the Community Policing Office at the Brick Township Police Department during regular business hours.
Pontoriero, who was attending her first meeting after having surgery in June in her continuing battle against a rare mouth cancer, said the lock box program can work in tandem with the township’s Project Icebox. Project Icebox is a vinyl magnetized holder for the refrigerator with pockets to hold sheets of paper or index cards with information about the residents’ medical history, medications, contact information for family members and more.
In the event of an emergency, first responders can use the information in the folder if the person is not able to communicate with them. Pontoriero said she has one in her home and put it to use recently.
“It’s not just for seniors,” she said.
The lock boxes are being funded by a $2,500 donation from Artis Senior Living of Brick, which presented a check to Police Chief James Riccio last week, Pontoriero said, and the township is looking for businesses to sponsor additional lock boxes. Thank you to the Artis of Brick management team, Alexandra Amato, Joann Kubas, Jamie Oryniak, and Joyce Yencarelli.