By Anna Skinner
Taking care of a family member with special needs is difficult, whether it be Alzheimer’s, dementia, Downs Syndrome or autism. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department aims to make life easier for affected families with their nonprofit corporation, Project Lifesaver.
Some with special needs are prone to stray from home and Project Lifesaver uses radio frequencies to help locate loved ones once they’ve gone missing.
“When a client goes missing, we tell the family that the first thing to always do is dial 911,” said David McCormick, public relations coordinator of Project Lifesaver in Hamilton County since 2009. “They call 911 and (public safety) comes out and sets up an area around the house where the individual was.”
McCormick said nobody has ever been denied from the program. For Hamilton County residents, the transmitting device is free.
The signal from the receiver can pick up the transmitter frequency from about half a mile to three quarters of a mile away on level ground and seven to 15 miles in the air with StatFlight assistance.
Since the establishment of Project Lifesaver in 2009, it has helped located clients four times, including one client with Alzheimer’s.
Adam Herrington, a captain for the Carmel Fire Department, started picking up the signal while traveling. Herrington was able to locate the missing woman.
“I think it helps since the fire departments are strategically located around the community,” Herrington said. “It also provides for a fast response and time obviously matters, especially in a case of persons with autism or Alzheimer’s that have no sense of danger and tend to wander away. So getting there quickly and using the technology to quickly and safely locate them is key.”
To learn more, visit www.projectlifesaver.com. To sign up a family member to be a part of Project Lifesaver, call McCormick at 776-6757.