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Project Life Saver Helps to Locate Individuals With Reduced Mental Capacities Who Wander Off

The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia or other cognitive conditions is a growing and serious responsibility.

Without effective procedures and equipment, searches can involve multiple agencies, hundreds of officers, countless man hours and thousands of dollars. More importantly, because time is of the essence, every minute lost increases the risk of a tragic outcome.

There is a program available that helps greatly aid in the efficient and timely location of individuals who have wandered off and may need prompt medical attention. That program is called “Project Lifesaver.”

Project Lifesaver International was founded in 1999 by public safety officers themselves to bring about a solution that facilitates the rapid location of wanderers — a strategy that greatly increases the chance that the wanderer will be found alive.

Currently, over 1,400 agencies and groups in 48 states, Australia, and six provinces in Canada participate in the program—police, sheriff, fire, and other emergency responders and departments. The method relies on proven radio technology and a specially trained search and rescue team.

Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small transmitter that emits an individualized tracking signal. When caregivers notify a local Project Lifesaver agency that the person is missing, a trained team responds to the wanderer’s area and starts searching with a mobile locater tracking system.

Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, in approximately 30 minutes.

Working hand in hand with trained law enforcement and other public safety agencies, Project Lifesaver saves time, money, resources, but most of all, SAVES LIVES. Project Lifesaver agencies have had 3,700 successful rescues

since the program’s inception, and the average rescue time is approximately 30 minutes.

Project Lifesaver International provides in-depth training for law enforcement and other public safety agencies on the use of specialized electronic search and rescue equipment, technology and procedures, as well as teaching rescuers how to communicate with people afflicted with cognitive conditions, all of which are essential to the successful rescue of missing persons who wander or otherwise become lost. They certify search and rescue personnel and provide ongoing management to participating agencies.

In addition, Project Lifesaver develops public outreach programs to educate others about the issue of wandering, and they constantly work toward developing public policy and effective law enforcement response to help save lives and “bring loved ones home.”

Officials at Hope Enterprises are very enthusiastic about the Project Life Saver program.

“Hope Enterprises, Inc. has been proud to support Project Lifesaver throughout the years. Please visit our website for more specifics regarding the roles and responsibilities of Hope at this time, Emily Cammerer, Director of Community Outreach and Administrative Services for Hope Enterprises, told Webb Weekly.

She continued, “Over the past year, we have identified issues with the referral process flow. Specifically, with defining all community access points, caseload capacity and a growth strategy for Project Lifesaver. We are currently working with our community partners to clarify roles.

“Regardless, we anticipate and welcome the receiving of fundraising dollars through the Hope Foundation. All donations should be made to the Hope Foundation with a restricted intent to Project Lifesaver. These funds will be used to continue the daily operations of Project Lifesaver at the law enforcement level.”

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