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Renee Schreiber has back problems and has had many surgeries.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
________________


Renee Schreiber has back problems and has had many surgeries.

She also has a bad heart.

Coupled with the bad heart of her husband, the Schreibers like to be ready for an emergency.

“There for a while I was falling,” Renea Schreiber said. “I took some really horrendous falls.”

On one occasion, Schreiber tripped over something in her back office, causing her to fall and break her foot.

Schreiber couldn’t reach any of the four phones in her home but fortunately had her cell phone on her.

“As luck would have it I had just grabbed my purse,” Schreiber said.

Accidents are common as people age.

Ensuring help will arrive when something happens is taken seriously by the Sedona Verde Valley Association of Realtors and Sedona Fire District.

Schreiber’s home was the 30th outfitted with the Knox lockbox in the Verde Valley.

Eight of the 30 have been installed in the Sedona area.

Piggy-backing on the lock- box used by the district on commercial structures, the residential version serves the same purpose.

The Knox box allows emergency personnel — such as SFD emergency medical technicians — to enter a locked home.

“It adds another level of comfort and security,” SFD Senior Fire Inspector Gary Johnson said.

Schreiber has Life Alert, but once SFD is called, responders have to be able to get inside her home.

Life Alert outfits people with a small box that hangs around their neck.

If something happens and a person isn’t able to make it to the telephone, a simple push of the box’s button sends an alert to emergency crews.

Schreiber’s lockbox was installed a few weeks ago after she picked up a brochure on SVVAR’s LockBoxes for Seniors program.

“I thought, ‘This is just what I need,’” Schreiber said.

SVVAR started the program in January in response to the large base of seniors in the valley, SVVAR Housing Opportunities Committee Chair Ann Ziller said.

According to Ziller, the program is intended to help keep seniors out of nursing homes.

“It’s important for them to maintain their own homes for as long as possible,” Ziller said.

Knox lockboxes are one more tool allowing seniors to do this, according to Ziller.

The small boxes are mounted on the side of a home near the entrance. A key to the residence is placed inside and the box is locked.

The only key capable of opening the box is in the possession of SFD.

SVVAR does not have access to either key.

Each box costs $135.

Fund-raising and donations have made it possible for SVVAR to provide financial assistance to seniors who need it.

The price actually paid for the box is determined by annual income.

Boxes are free to people who make less than $25,000, $50 if income is between $25,000 and $50,000 and people earning over $50,000 are responsible for the full cost.

Ziller said 28 of the 30 boxes installed have been free.

SVVAR is currently collecting names for the next set of Knox boxes to be installed.

For more information, call SVVAR at 282-5409 or SFD at 282-6800.


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