Schenkat: Scottsdale’s lock box program saved my life

Two months ago I had to call 9-1-1.

Sandy Schenkat

I had passed out and fell on my kitchen floor. Fortunately, I had contacted the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors regarding the Lock Boxes for Seniors program over a year ago and they had installed a lock box on my gate.

If that lock box was not there, the EMTs would have had to climb over the wall or gate to access my home and then break a window to get in.

Fortunately, six members of the Scottsdale Fire Department were able to rescue me and take me to Honor Health emergency.

I am grateful to the Scottsdale Fire Department and the SAAR for this program and would like to recommend that all seniors or those who have health issues, contact 877-229-5042 and arrange to have a visit from a Realtor and a volunteer from the fire department to get a lock box installed.

Becca Linnig, 2018 Past President of SAAR, told me that SAAR started this Lock Boxes for Seniors program in 2004 and Scottsdale was the first city in the nation to offer this service.

She said it a great way for the Realtors to give back to their community.

Since Scottsdale has launched this program, SAAR has shared this with other cities across the nation. SAAR staff member, Amanda Ochoa, coordinates this Lock Box for Seniors for the Realtors and the program is now available not only in Scottsdale but also Cave Creek and Fountain Hills.

Lori Schmidt, Scottsdale Fire Department’s public education director, works with the volunteers and deliveries take place the third Thursday of every month. This is a free service for those with income under $25,000 annually.

A $25 charge is collected for those who can afford it. That money goes into purchasing more lock boxes.

Ms. Ochoa, coordinates the forms signed by those receiving the lock box and shares that information with the fire department. SAAR also holds fund raisers throughout the year to help supplement this program.

To find out more, visit

As a 2016 graduate of Scottsdale Citizens’ Fire Academy, I would also recommend that those interested in knowing more about our exemplary fire department and EMT service, may want enroll in this eight week course.

Call the city at 480-312-3111 and ask to sign up for this or go online at Fire Chief Tom Shannon and his staff make these classes exciting and informative.

I am grateful I took the class and learned about the lock box program. The city offers so many helpful programs to its citizens.

It is important that all seniors take advantage of the lock box program so put that call on your New Years’ Resolution list. This could help save your life.

Editor’s Note: Sandy Schenkat is a Scottsdale resident and community advocate.

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