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Odd Fellows donate safety flags for wheelchair users

HOULTON, Maine — In an effort to help handicapped individuals gain more visibility while traveling in motorized wheelchairs and scooters, the Odd Fellows Rocabema Lodge No. 78 in Houlton partnered with the Houlton Police Department to provide them safety flags.

“We felt this was an important thing to do,” said William Folsom, right supporter of the noble grand of the Odd Fellows Rocabema Lodge No. 78. “It will help to reduce damage to motorized vehicles and it may well save somebody’s life. If these flags can save one person’s life, it is worth it.”

The orange safety flags are attached to a long three-foot pole that can be safely mounted on any motorized scooter or wheelchair to increase visibility. Houlton Police Chief Tim DeLuca said he was approached by members of the Odd Fellows and asked if his department would be willing to partner for the project.

“These flags can be mounted on handicap scooters or wheelchairs for those who traverse the sidewalks and crosswalks in Houlton,” DeLuca said. “The purpose is to increase safety by increasing visibility, which is also a benefit to motorists.”

“The snow banks are getting high now, and these flags may help cars identify that a scooter is passing,” Folsom added.

DeLuca said the town of Houlton has a relatively high number of people using motorized scooters for transportation purposes, particularly in the downtown area, because there are many elderly or assisted living housing complexes nearby.

“We have a high number of senior areas, and I know for a fact there are people out there that could use these flags,” he said. “It’s not only making it safer for those in the wheelchairs and scooters, but it’s an added safety factor for motorists too.”

To obtain a free flag and installation, contact Folsom at 532-3877 or the HPD at 532-2287. Arrangements will then be made for installation with Acadia Medical Supply. Folsom said the flags were not overly expensive to purchase, but any organization or individual that wants to assist with the project is welcome.

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