Project Lifesaver International Archives a New Milestone with 3000 Successful Rescues

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The first organization to address the issue of protecting and recovering special needs individuals who are prone to the life threatening symptom of wandering

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Project Lifesaver, the first organization to address the issue of protecting and recovering special needs individuals who are prone to the life threatening symptom of wandering is pleased to announce that to date Project Lifesaver has made 3000 successful rescues.

On Saturday, May 16, 2015 an elderly gentlemen who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s wandered away from his home. His wife called the Newport News, Virginia Sheriffs Office at 6:15pm to report him missing. A Project Lifesaver trained officer arrived at 6:25pm the officer deployed his Project Lifesaver receiver and shortly after acquiring the signal the elderly gentlemen was found at approximately 6:35pm. He was then returned to his family safe and unharmed.

“For the past 16 years Project Lifesaver trained and equipped teams have quietly and selflessly been fulfilling the mission of “bringing loved ones home”. This is due in large part to the dedication of these officers, our comprehensive training program and the exceptional locating technology we employ,” said Gene Saunders, CEO & Founder of Project Lifesaver International.

Project Lifesaver is the most effective and efficient programs first responders can activate during the first critical minutes after an “At Risk” individual is reported to be missing. At risk individuals enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled individual goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver trained emergency response team.

About Project Lifesaver:
Project Lifesaver is a 501 (C) (3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue, other first responders and caregivers with equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, and Down syndrome. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations. Nationwide there are over 1,400 Project Lifesaver member agencies.

The Project Lifesaver program provides first responders with an understanding of the symptoms and behaviors of the individuals that they are recovering; they know how to approach the individual, gain their trust and put them at ease for the trip home. Project Lifesaver trained certified, and equipped first responders have the tools and training to assess and effectively manage the safe and comfortable return of the “At Risk” individual.

Project Lifesaver is also a subject matter expert and adviser on the wandering issue for:

  •     Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s disease (LEAD)
  •     National Center for Missing & Exploited Children,
  •     International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  •     Alzheimer’s Foundation
  •     National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA)
  •     National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners
  •     International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners

Project Lifesaver is the most widely used and effective program in the nation that is specifically designed to protect the “At Risk” populations in our communities. Project Lifesaver has trained thousands of public safety agencies, not only in search, rescue and the use of our electronic locating equipment, but also in the methods necessary to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease, Autism or a related cognitive disorder.

Wandering is an Under-Recognized Life-Threatening Behavior. Just how serious and prevalent is this issue?

About Autism & Wandering:
As you know, one (1) in every sixty eight (68) children is born with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). And according to a Kennedy Krieger Interactive Autism Network study published in the journal Pediatrics half of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are reported to wander or “bolt,” and more than half of these children go missing. According to a recent National Autism Association survey, nearly 92% of parents felt their autistic child was at risk of wandering away and becoming lost.

About Alzheimer’s & Wandering:
Today, over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, nearly 500,000 in Florida. The 2014 cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States is estimated to total $214 billion. Nearly 60% of people with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point during the progression of the disease, and many will wander repeatedly. According to a study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, approximately 46 percent of patients who wander off will die if they are not found within 24 hours.

The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Autism, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive conditions has been dramatically growing and is a serious societal problem. Without effective procedures and equipment, searches can involve multiple agencies, hundreds of officers, countless man hours and tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, because time is of the essence, every minute lost increases the risk of a tragic outcome.

To learn more about Project Lifesaver visit:

For more information contact:

Joseph Salenetri                                                                                            
Project Lifesaver International
Assistant-Chief, Special Projects                            


Elizabeth Kappes
Project Lifesaver International
Public Relations Coordinator-Special Projects

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