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Safe and secure at Oak Crest

Caring professionals and a multifaceted security system make personal safety a top priority

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February 16th, 2016
Security guard at community entrance gate
Security guard at community entrance gate

Traveling is a respite for many people—a chance to get away from it all and take a break from the worries of everyday life. Andrew Lioi loves traveling as much as the next guy, but before he moved to Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., going on vacation also meant worrying about what was happening back at home. 

“I always had concerns with someone breaking into the house while we were away,” says Andrew. “I would even wait until 11:30 at night to load the suitcases into the car because we lived on a busy street and I didn’t want everyone driving by to know we were going away.”  

Andrew’s neighborhood had changed since 1957 when he and his late wife first bought their home, and his personal safety was becoming more of a concern. 

“If I returned home after dark, I would park the car and look around to see if anyone was watching me and then rush up to the door and inside the house,” says Andrew.

He decided to shed those worries after five decades in the same house and moved to Oak Crest where a multifaceted security system makes personal safety a top priority. 

Going far beyond protection from muggers, vandals, and burglars, Oak Crest features round-the-clock monitoring for fires, emergency situations, home safety assistance, as well as a detailed preparedness plan in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake. 

“We have a 24-hour central fire alarm system that connects directly to our dispatch office as well as the local fire department. And because most of our EMTs [emergency medical technicians] are actively affiliated with local fire departments, they are skilled at handling those types of situations,” says Senior Facilities Manager Anthony Fowler, a 20-year veteran of Erickson Living. 

Peace of mind

Trained personnel work the front entrance gate and make rounds at the 87-acre campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Security cameras that monitor both the interior and exterior of the campus provide that extra peace of mind for community members. And a reverse 911 system known as Swiftreach provides information to all 2,100 residents by phone in the event of an emergency.

“Whenever I return home after dark, now I’m greeted by the guard at the front gate; I park my car and walk to my apartment without looking over my shoulder. I’m not worried about anything,” says Andrew. 

Fowler cites a variety of resources and conveniences that make it easier and safer to face a health emergency at Oak Crest versus alone in your house. One example is the unique sentry latch system.

“The sentry latch system is an important tool we use to make sure you are safe while you are in the privacy of your home,” says Fowler. “The sentry [latch on the front door] is a safeguard, especially for those people who live alone. It alerts our security staff to the possibility that you may need help when it is left in the upright position—something so simple, but it could help save your life in the long run.”

Security officers trained and certified in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and in using the automated external defibrillator by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross are prepared to respond within minutes to the homes of residents who activate the emergency pull cords found in the  bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas in every apartment home at Oak Crest.

Out and about

Earning the trust of the people he serves is important to Fowler, who makes every effort to address residents’ concerns or needs. 

“I make my rounds in the community once or twice a day and talk with residents,” says Fowler. “We always welcome residents’ input. After all, this is their home. Any time we hear a concern, we follow up within 24 hours. We value their feedback as a way we can continuously improve and be better. At the end of the day, it feels good knowing you are helping someone and hopefully making even a small difference in their lives.” 

As for Andrew, since moving to Oak Crest seven years ago, he says his only concern now is how he would like to spend each day. 

“I waited eight years before I decided to move to Oak Crest. My only regret: I wish I had moved sooner,” says Andrew. Now I’m playing tennis, dancing a few times a week, volunteering as a resident ambassador—I don’t have any more worries.” 

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