Volunteers install emergency equipment for seniors

OSCEOLA COUNTY – The homes of 42 senior citizens in Osceola County will soon be more prepared for emergencies after volunteers agreed to install emergency equipment purchased with a $2,500 grant.

The Home Depot Community Impact grant was awarded to the Osceola County Commission on Aging in March. The grant funded the purchase of 42 fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and reflective address signs.

“The whole premise behind the grant is that we buy the stuff from them - they gave us a Home Depot gift card - and volunteers have to install the equipment in the community,” said COA Director Scott Schryer.

In search of volunteers to fulfill the grant’s stipulation, Schryer contacted the Osceola County Emergency Management Department and local fire departments, who were willing to volunteer their time and install the equipment for seniors.

“We heard the project they were doing and we thought it was phenomenal,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Weber, who coordinates the department’s volunteer program. “We’d rather have people be prepared than have to mitigate (an emergency situation) afterwards.

“It’s a great project and we’re excited to hop on board.”

The senior citizens who will receive the equipment were selected across the county based on population. Each township has two or three recipients.

The Home Depot Community Impact grant can be as much as $5,000. Schryer said he hopes the program receives a higher amount next year after the benefits of this year’s grant money is seen.

“At the beginning of next year, we’re going to re-apply,” Schryer said. “Hopefully we can keep doing this every year.”