A simple “Good Morning” can start someone’s day off right.
The Teaneck Fire Department believes it can also save a life – at least in the case of an elderly or disabled resident living on their own.
For more than 30 years, Teaneck firefighters have been placing “Good Morning Wake Up” calls to residents with health concerns. These well-being checks are made between 8 and 9 a.m. daily, 365 days a year. They are usually short, friendly conversations, but they can be very revealing. “Sometimes you can pick up that something is wrong from the sound of someone’s voice,” said Lt. David Barrett.
If a resident says they aren’t feeling well, or if they fail to answer the first call or a second follow-up one placed five minutes later, the dispatcher will send a unit to the house to check on them.
Over the years, the department’s responders have discovered residents who had fallen or were suffering a medical problem, and their intervention helped avert a more serious crisis.
Since its creation in 1985, participation has varied and there are currently only 21 Teaneck residents signed up, a very low number considering that senior citizens live alone in 11 percent of Teaneck households.
On one call Firefighter William Lynn made one recently, there was a bit of excitement – but the good kind. The woman told him he wouldn’t need to call for the remainder of the week because she was going out-of-town to visit her newly born first grandchild.
“Congratulations,” Lynn said. “Enjoy the trip.” Lynn said he’s gotten to know a bit about some of the people on the other end of the line, and a few like to do chat some mornings.
Those who enroll in the program receive a home safety inspection and are asked to provide emergency contact information and details about any medical conditions that emergency responders would need to know. After several years of enrollment, the residents are usually re-visited by Lt. Barrett or Captain Rich Burchell (the two program managers), who update their information if needed and also re-inspect their homes. The fire department also has used grant money to replace smoke detectors in homes that needed them.
If you think this service would help you or someone you know in Teaneck, please call the fire department at 201-837-2085 and ask to speak to Lt. Barrett or Capt. Burchell.
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.