Nordonia Hills -- Residents, at least the elderly and disabled, in all four of the area's communities now have the opportunity to give firefighters an easier and quicker way into their homes in an emergency.
The Fire District 27 Firefighters Association, which includes members of the Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire District, is sponsoring a residential lock box program. Fire Inspector Don Sedlak and firefighter Mike Jaskolka, who is the association's president, said residents interested in the program will be given a steel lock box to attach to the home's exterior. The box will contain a key to the home, with each district vehicle having a master key.
"It gives us the ability to enter the home of a disabled or elderly person rather than breaking open a door or breaking a window," said Jaskolka.
"The boxes themselves are very secure," he added.
Meanwhile, Northfield Village Acting Fire Chief Jason Buss told Village Council Jan. 9 that the department has a dozen lock boxes available. Mayor Jesse Nehez said the village will purchase more if needed.
"We've got them and we plan on rolling the program out," said Buss.
Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black said the city has had such a program already and has 10 or 12 boxes for elderly and disabled residents that are opened via a radio signal transmitted by city dispatchers, rather than by key.
The fire district's box is free to residents and at no cost to the district, but donations to the program are welcome, said Jaskolka.
The firefighters association received a total of $700 in donations Jan. 14, including from Sagamore Hills residents David and Carrie DePasquale, owners of Dipole Builders, Dr. Thomas Inwood D.P.M, Dr. Dan Greenwood D.D.S, and Eric Eisner, owner of Eisner Insurance Agency.
Interested residents can call the fire station at 330-467-7410 or email NCFFA@NorthfieldCenter.com.
The village boxes require a $60 deposit that will be returned when the box is returned. Interested residents can call the fire station at 330-467-7139, ext. 22.
The city program is free, but residents may be put on a waiting list. Black said residents also have the option of purchasing their own boxes. For more information, call the Macedonia Fire Department at 330-468-8339.
District Fire Chief Frank Risko said it is a "great program."
"The elderly are going to love it," he said, adding that it will also speed call times.