Introducing Project Lifesaver (updated)Friday, September 14, 2012 by: Jordan Allard
In a race against time when minutes can mean the difference between life and death, local first responders received a boost of speed that should help them find the most vulnerable in our community quicker.
Project Lifesaver, a program using radio transmitting bracelets to locate people with cognitive disorders who are constantly at risk to the life threatening behaviour of wandering, was introduced at the Sault Search and Rescue building on Friday morning.
"Young people and patients with disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or autism can be gone in seconds flat," said Randall Roy, vice-president of the Sault Search and Rescue (SSAR). "Avoiding time wasting is most important when trying to locate someone who's run off."
SSAR volunteers support the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service in the dash to find people who've wandered off.
Local police are responsible for missing persons in the community and when someone can’t be found, SSAR is on the scene helping officers locate whoever has disappeared.
"We're very fortunate to have a great working protocol established with the Sault Search and Rescue," said Bob Davies, chief of police. “We will really benefit from this program. The initial moments after someone disappears are so valuable.”
Both Davies and Roy feel Project Lifesaver will help them make better use of the vital moments after someone has gone missing.
Project Lifesaver is an international program with over 1,200 participating agencies throughout America, Australia and Canada that has performed 2,568 searches in the past 13 years with no serious injuries or fatalities reported.
The program provides responders with a comprehensive guideline - including equipment and training - to locate and rescue at risk individuals.
Radio transmitting bracelets are attached to patients’ 24-hours-a-day and provide SSAR volunteers with a location signal that can reach transmitters from below 10 feet of water and through the harsh winter climate of the north.
Shown above is an example of a transmitter that can be used to locate small children and at risk individuals.
After completing two days of training, SSAR has 16 trained Project Lifesaver workers who can participate in the program.
Last weekend, new program equipment was tested and results were encouraging.
SSAR volunteers were directed to hide within a four mile radius - roughly one hour walking time - and 46 minutes later they were discovered using Project Lifesaver equipment.
"It's phenomenal how quickly we found them," said Roy. "Normally that would be a two day search."
Project Lifesaver was made possible thanks to a financial contribution of $6,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and support by Feifel, Broadbent and Gualazzi personal injury lawyers, downtown Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Sault Ste. Marie.
Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti hailed the SSAR for pursuing a program vital to a community with a large urban and rural area that makes finding missing people no easy task.
"This initiative will help the most vulnerable members of our community," said Orazietti. "The financial contribution may not seem substantial, but it will provide a huge benefit to the community."
To register someone with Project Lifesaver, SSAR can be reached at saultSAR@hotmail.com
A news release issued earlier today by the office of MPP David Orazietti follows.
Province supporting Search and Rescue program in Sault Ste. Marie
Project Lifesaver enhances public safety, supports individuals with cognitive conditions
SAULT STE. MARIE - David Orazietti, MPP was joined by representatives from Sault Search and Rescue for the launch of Project Lifesaver, an active response system designed to locate and rescue individuals who have a tendency to wander.
“The implementation of Project Lifesaver in our community will enhance the safety of individuals with conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the amount of time it takes to locate persons who have wandered from home,” said Orazietti. “This program equips our local first responders with new technology and training that will result in greater efficiency in searches and greater peace of mind for families.”
Project Lifesaver uses radio transmitting bracelets to quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are at constant risk to the life threatening behavior of wandering including those with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, and Down Syndrome.
The program provides first responders with a comprehensive program including equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue “at risk” individuals.
The province is contributing $6,000 through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to purchase equipment and train volunteers to implement Project Lifesaver in Sault Ste. Marie.
Additional support for the project is being provided by Feifel Broadbent and Gulazzi, personal injury lawyers, the Downtown Kiwanis and the Rotary Club of Sault Ste Marie.
“The contribution of funds for Project Lifesaver have allowed for the purchase of the Project Lifesaver equipment and training that will enhance the search operations in the community for those who are at risk of wandering,” said Randy Roy, first vice-president of Sault Search and Rescue. “The Sault Search and Rescue appreciates the support of the Trillium Fund, Feifel Broadbent and Gulazzi, The Downtown Kiwanis and the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie.”
- Sault Search and Rescue is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year
- Project Lifesaver is an international program with over 1,200 participating agencies throughout the US, Canada and Australia
- The program has performed 2,568 searches in the last 13 years with no serious injuries or fatalities ever reported
- Project Lifesaver provides equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement, public safety organizations and community groups
A leading grantmaker in Canada, The Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives.
An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.
Pictured: Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Robert Davies, Randy Roy of Sault Search and Rescue, and MPP David Orazietti