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Central Georgia's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports, and more | Macon, Georgia | 13WMAZ.com

R-U-O-K? Houston County 911 offers free program to check on elderly, disabled

You are placed on an automated call list, and if you do not pick up, first responders will be sent to your home.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — The R-U-O-K system has been around for over two decades, but the Houston County EMA office says not many people are taking advantage of it.

It is a computer generated phone service that calls people to check in on them. The system can be very valuable, especially during these hot summer months. 

Most senior citizens that 13WMAZ spoke to Wednesday did not know it existed.

Becky Elliott is a widow, who spends every Wednesday making quilts at the Warner Robins Senior Center. When she is not there, she is home alone.

“My son checks with me every day and my daughter checks on me about every third day," Elliott said.

But that is not the case for all senior citizens. Some do not have kids or a spouse to keep up with them.

That is where the Houston County EMA office steps in.

“The computer will call people at their residence and if they answer then obviously everything is fine. If they do not answer, then we immediately send first responders to the scene to make sure they’re okay," Capt. Ricky Harlowe said.

Anyone can sign up. Young, old, handicapped, disabled — anyone who needs to be checked in on.

“It is completely free to the citizens of Houston County," Harlowe said.

Harlowe says only about a dozen people currently use it.

“I think it’s one of the most wonderful programs I’ve ever heard of. It helps senior citizens that have nobody... and let’s face it, there are a lot of us out there," Elliott said.

On Wednesday morning, nine calls were completed with no issues, but Harlowe says in the past, the system saved a life.

For people like Becky Elliot, it can provide piece of mind.

"People should be made aware of it, and definitely sign up," Elliott said. 

Harlowe says you can sign up whether you have a landline or a cellphone number. You can also request what time you would like them to call everyday.

There is an option to provide the EMA office with a house key in the event they need to come inside to check on you. 

To sign up for the R-U-O-K program, you can call the Houston County 9-1-1 center at 478-542-9911. 

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