What is Project Lifesaver?
Project Lifesaver is a non-profit organization located in Virginia. They train law enforcement in how to utilize reliable radio technology to track individuals with brain injuries or defects. Project Lifesaver is deployed nationwide by local law enforcement agencies to help families find those that tend to wander.
Who is eligible for this program?
Project Lifesaver is for people suffering from severe brain injuries or diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Down’s syndrome, and Autism. These are people that are at risk because as a result of their disease or injury they are likely to wander and become disoriented and confused.
How reliable is Project Lifesaver?
Project Lifesaver specially trains our tracking teams in not only search and rescue and the use of the electronic tracking equipment, but also in the methods necessary to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or related disorder. Locating the individual is only part of the mission. The person who is located may be disoriented, anxious, and untrusting. The Project Lifesaver team knows how to approach the person, gain their trust and put them at ease for the trip home.
How much does Project Lifesaver cost?
We have two types of programs available. The first is a onetime cost of $300 which will cover the purchase of the monitor and batteries and wristbands for one year. The other plan is a client can lease to own the equipment for $20 a month for 24 months and at the end of this time will own the monitor. We are also working with our local chapter of the Pilot Club International who are raising money to provide monitors to those that cannot afford them.
How safe is Project Lifesaver?
As with any program available there are risks and limitations. Since Project Lifesaver is a radio based frequency the limitation is the range of the tracking equipment. There is an average range of 1 diameter mile from the point of the tracking device when deployed on the ground. When deployed in air, that range increases to 5 miles.
Another limitation is the reliability of the client in checking the device daily to make sure it is functioning properly. This program is not intended to be a babysitter or relieve the client of closely monitoring their activities but rather provides them with a peace of mind that comes with knowing that if their loved one does wander then we have the means to locate them usually within the national average of 30 minutes or less. The faster we locate them the better chance of finding them alive and unharmed. Statistics show that the longer it takes to locate someone with a brain injury or defect, the chances of finding them unharmed or worse significantly decrease.
Why we are using old fashioned radio transmitters versus G.P.S (global positioning systems)?
We have been asked several times the question of why we are using old fashioned radio transmitters versus G.P.S (global positioning systems), the short answer is this. Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment in a emergency search situation is less durable, the battery has to be changed too frequently, it is bulky to be worn, can fail in bad weather, and it’s signal is often unde-tected indoors, under trees, and in any area that blocks sunlight. Another major reliability factor is the power source(s). GPS detection and notification systems for the wandering individual rely on AC power while their personal GPS equipment relies on batteries that last hours or 1-2 days. The Project Lifesaver battery pro-vides a continuous signal for 30-45 days.
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