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Safe & Secure: Morro Bay Fire's RUOK Program - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Safe & Secure: Morro Bay Fire's RUOK Program

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We're keeping you Safe and Secure with information on a little known program that can do a lot of good.

Morro Bay Fire's RUOK program has been checking on residents, especially seniors, since the 1970s, but the number of people taking part is dwindling and Chief Steve Knuckles wants to get those numbers back up.

Take Grace Poletti for example. She's a 92-year-old volunteer who's been making RUOK calls since 2001. It's just a quick phone call every morning to check on her fellow community members to make sure they're "ok."

"Some say 'fine,' some say 'you're a minute late' and one said, 'I have a hangover I can't talk today,'" said Poletti.

It doesn't matter the response, as long as they answer.
     
"If they don't pick up the phone we'll go out and there has been instances where there were emergencies where medical aid has occurred," said Chief Knuckles.

Thankfully for Grace, in all her years calling it's never led to an emergency, just a false alarm.

"No one answered so the fireman went out and I said 'I don't think she's hurt, I think she's at a yard sale,'" said Poletti and when asked if that was the case, "that was the case," she replied and laughed.

What Grace has learned is some people just want the human interaction. "Maybe they want to tell you something that's going on and you listen to them. I love hearing what they have to say too, it's just a nice, nice time with them," she said.

Chief Knuckles is also promoting another safety tool called Knox Box.

When fire crews have to enter homes in an emergency, often times they have to force their way in by damaging a door or window.

Knox Box allows them to enter with a key.

"Basically, it's an armored box that the fire department has a key to and allows us to enter your home without damaging a door or window in the event of an emergency," said Knuckles.

The boxes are similar to those that house keys to commercial buildings, but Knox Box has come out with a new, more affordable line for residential use.

Visit knoxhomebox.com for more information.

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