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Project Lifesaver

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Project Lifesaver

Project Lifesaver is sponsored by Elkhart County Triad, Inc., a non-profit organization. Project Lifesaver is a reliable rapid-response partnership with law enforcement aiding victims and families suffering from Alzheimer's disease and related disorders such as Down's Syndrome and Autism.

The Need for Project Lifesaver

Approximately 5 million people in the USA have Alzheimer's and related disorders. That number will likely triple by the year 2050. Well over 50% of these people wander and become lost. A lost person with Alzheimer's or other dementia represents a critical emergency.

Project Lifesaver

They are unaware of their situation, they do not call out for help and do not respond to people calling out to them. Nearly half of them will die and many can become injured or fall victim to predators if they are not located with 24 hours. The number of families and communities experiencing this risk will grow dramatically in the coming years.

If you are not yet touched in some way by Alzheimer's or a related disorder, chances are you will be within the next several years. You will find it among neighbors, your friends, co-workers, and their families, and perhaps within your own family.

Project Lifesaver forms partnerships with local law enforcement, public safety organizations and concerned citizens in the community. Project Lifesaver deploys specially trained teams with the most reliable technology available to quickly locate and return wandering adults and children to their families and caregivers.

How Project Lifesaver Works

We have combined "tried and true" radio technology with rescue teams from Elkhart County, including Law Enforcement, Public Safety officials and local interested citizens to build an effective life-saving system that has proven itself, time and again, to be reliable, responsive, practical and affordable.

People who have the LifesaverWrist band and case that contains the transmitter for Project Lifesaver program wear a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal. When the caregivers notify 911 that the person is missing, a search and rescue team responds to the wanderer's area and starts searching with the mobile locator tracking system. Search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes.

lifesaver wristband

The Project Lifesaver wristband is much more than a passive ID bracelet. It is a one-ounce battery operated wrist transmitter emitting an automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. The signal is tracked on the ground or in the air over several miles. As each wristband has a unique radio frequency, the Project Lifesaver search team positively locates and identifies the person who has wandered away from home or a care facility.

Technology is Only Half the Story

Project Lifesaver emphasizes relationships between team members and the people who may wander before the need may arise for a rescue. Team members visit the home of the bracelet recipients to install the transmitter and make regular visits to maintain the equipment. Project Lifesaver team members are specially trained, not only in the use of the electronic tracking equipment, but especially in the methods to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer's disease or related disorder. Locating the individual is only a part of the mission. The person who is located will be disoriented, anxious, and untrusting. The Project Lifesaver team know how to approach the person, gain their trust, and put them at ease for the trip home.

Get Your Loved One on the Program

If your loved one resides in Elkhart County, Indiana, and you are interested in inquiring about registering for the program, please contact or phone 574-891-2371.

What is the Responsibility of the Caretaker?

The caretaker will be responsible for:
-Testing the transmitter daily and logging the information.
-Contacting 911 immediately if the loved one goes missing.
-Contacting the local Project Lifesaver director or responder assigned if the wristband is removed or if there is a problem, such as the tester indicates the transmitter is not working properly.
-Paying the start up fee (approximately $275.00) for the transmitter. (Note: Elkhart County Project Lifesaver desires to furnish this program to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. There are scholarships available.)
-Paying the monthly service fee of $15.00, which includes a trained responder coming into the home to change the battery for the transmitter, replace the wristband and snaps, and general maintenance on the equipment. (If unable to pay for this service, it can be reduced or waived.)

Has there ever been an actual Project Lifesaver search in Elkhart County?

Yes! In October 2005, a 71-year-old with Alzheimer's wandered away from his home. The caretaker called 911 and it took approximately 15 minute for trained responders to arrive at the point-last-seen. The responders activated the tracking equipment and immediately received a signal from the man's transmitter. Thirteen minutes later the responders found him approximately one mile from his home. This was the 1,238th successful rescue in the nation since Project Lifesaver's inception in 1999.

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