A Word With The Captain: Support Networks Critical For Seniors
Fire Department Captain Doug La Count talks about how
seniors can stay safe.
KHTS sat down with Los Angeles County Fire Department
Captain Doug La Count to begin a series of conversations with our local fire
Capt. La Count runs Fire Station 107, located on Soledad
Canyon Road near Sierra
Highway. The station responds to numerous daily
calls to Friendly Valley,
a senior community a few blocks south of the station.
“By far the majority of our calls are for chest pain, heart
problems, shortness of breath, stroke, diabetic problems, and a lot of slips
and falls” he said.
We asked him how senior citizens can help protect themselves
in the case of an emergency.
Become Familiar With Your Neighbors
Capt. La Count urges the formation of support groups for
seniors, especially for those living alone.
“Have a system where you check on each other...that’s
important,” he said. That way if you do fall, and you are unable to get to a
phone and alert somebody, you rely on someone to come check on you.”
Another way to accomplish this is to set up regular times or
dates for family members to call. If a senior does not answer at the set time,
additional calls or even a personal check can be made to ensure wellbeing.
In The Case Of A Heart Attack
Call 911 immediately. Then, stay calm.
“That’s really the best thing they can do, to stay calm,”
Capt. La Count said.
He added that if the victim has been previously diagnosed
with heart or breathing problems, and have been prescribed an oxygen tank, they
should start breathing in the oxygen while they wait for emergency crews.
In An Emergency, Always Call 911
Some people get a hold of the fire station’s office line,
and attempt to call in emergencies. Capt. La Count says that those calls
actually slow down the response time, and callers run the risk of calling when
the crew is out on another call. By phoning 911 during an emergency,
dispatchers can assign other units to optimize the response.
Prevent Falls When Possible
There are a variety of products that can help seniors avoid
falling, or can help them up if they do fall.
“Obviously if you had a handle getting out of the shower, or
could put non-skid traction in certain areas of your home that would be
To read other articles from this series of interviews with Captain La
Count, click below: