Alex de Vos
Fears among elderly people about lying undiscovered dead in their Bellarine Peninsula homes has prompted formation of an emergency database.
The push to produce the database has emerged after Census collectors reported elderly peninsula residents too scared to open their doors.
Bellarine Police Community Support Register is set to include information such as residents’ next of kin, medical conditions and location of spare house keys for police to access homes during emergencies.
Register chairperson Ann Nichol said inclusion on the database would be voluntary.
However, she believed the database would provide peace of mind and support for elderly and ill residents in particular.
“There are fears about the elderly being found dead in their homes several weeks later and also concerns about isolation,” she said.
“When the last Census was completed some of the collectors found that the elderly people were wary about opening the door.”
Ms Nichol said the register would help people supplying their personal details feel a closer connection to their communities and alleviate feelings of isolation.
“It would also reassure families that live interstate that their loved ones are being looked out for,” Ms Nichol said.
Elderly Clifton Springs resident Trish Brearley backed the register.
She called it a “wonderful” idea that would be a significant help to authorities during emergencies.
“There have been so many occasions when people have been found dead in their homes and there’s no one looking out for them,” Mrs Brearley said.
“I think it would give elderly and sick people peace of mind.”
The register would also hold information such as whether residents had pets.
“If someone gets taken to hospital people will know whether they have a pet and what they want done with it,” Mrs Brearley said.
“These things are important.”
Bellarine Police Station Senior Sergeant Garry Coombes urged residents to supply information for the database.
“It would give police the ability to be more efficient and effective in their responses to emergencies,” he said.
“It will also strengthen those ties between the police and local community and give residents a sense of security.”
Ms Nichol has called for volunteers to help build the register.
She hoped it would be available in October.
Alex de Vos