There are 95 seniors, who are also living alone and often unwell, who call their designated clerk that's with the "Care Line" program. They call at the same time every day to say all is well.
"The Care Line clerks are very attached to the clients because they talk to them every day," said public information officer Denise Moloney.
This past Friday, one of the seniors didn't call, so alarm bells started going off for his Care Line clerk. The sheriff's office said the clerk had tried reaching him on his home phone and cell phone, but there was no answer.
The clerk sent a deputy to the elderly man's home on the eastern side of the county.
"[The deputy] walked up to the front door to knock and as he was walking up, he saw smoke in the windows," said Moloney.
The client was still alert, and yelled to the deputy that he had fallen out of his wheelchair.
"[The deputy] just decided to drag him out of the house," said Moloney. "As he got to the front door with him, another deputy showed up. They were able to lift him together and put him in the wheelchair, get him out."
Deputies believe the client had started a small fire that accidentally got out of control. Were it not for an alert Care Line clerk, the situation may have had a different ending.
"I don’t know how much more time the gentleman would have been able to sustain being in there with all the smoke," said Moloney.
Moloney said the program has saved victims of strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure, but that this is the clearest example of a little contact going a long way.
For more information on the Hernando County Sheriff's Care Line program, you can head to: https://www.hernandosheriff.org/Careline.aspx