Port St Lucie, FL (PRWEB) March 14, 2014
Project Lifesaver International, Port St Lucie, FL, March 14, 2014 Fifteen years ago retired Virginia Police Captain Gene Saunders launched the Project Lifesaver program Project Lifesaver in Chesapeake, Virginia. At the time no other organization or program was addressing the very frightening, dangerous, and life threatening behavior of wandering by individuals with cognitive disorders. After retiring from a long military and law enforcement career and knowing this important issue was essentially being ignored, Chief Saunders created the Non-Profit organization, Project Lifesaver International.
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 technology and training to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering.
Chief Saunders’ vision was to create a comprehensive program that would include nation wide compatible technology along with a coordinated national training program for law enforcement and other first responders. The training and education component would include, but not be limited to; search and rescue, search technology, and an understanding of the conditions, patterns and behaviors of the populations they will be recovering. By having a comprehensive nationally compatible program, when families move from city to city or state to state, their equipment and the search notification/procedures will remain the same. Also, bordering cities, counties, and communities would be in a position to support each other during a search and rescue operation.
When Chief Saunders started Project Lifesaver, elopement or wandering by individuals with Alzheimer’s or Autism was not on the national agenda even though elopement is a common behavior associated with individuals with cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Autism. Over the past fifteen years both Alzheimer’s and Autism have grown at an alarming rate.
Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and over 60 percent will wander. Autism affects 1 in 88 children and roughly half, or 49%, of children with autism attempt to elope or wander from a safe environment. The dramatic increase in the incidence of both Alzheimer's and Autism has brought about an increased prevalence of wandering incidences of “At Risk” individuals.
In 1999 Chief Saunders also envisioned that some day both the program and the technology would be available at no cost to local, state, and federal first responder agencies and to the families and caregivers of those “At Risk” individuals. Today that vision is beginning to be realized.
Recently, the federal government recognizes the need to provide grant money for protection devices for both individuals with Alzheimer’s and Autism, acknowledging the importance of addressing the health and safety issue of wandering. Additionally, Project Lifesaver has begun offering new protect and locating devices, PAL & Freedom for Kids, at NO Cost* with a two year subscription. PAL & Freedom for Kids* are the newest and most effective transmitter solutions designed specifically to protect and reduce the potential of a life threatening wandering episode.
PAL & Freedom for Kids* differs from most other protect and locate devices in that it has GPS tracking and cellular communications but it also allows the caregiver to create an RF “Safe Zone” around the individual wearing the watch. When the "Safe Zone" is breached the caregiver will hear an alarm and be able to stop the wandering event before it happens.
About Project Lifesaver International:
Project Lifesaver is a 501 (C) (3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue and other first responders 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. 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 client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver trained emergency response team. To date Project Lifesaver agencies have conducted 2,800 successful rescues with a success rate of 100%.
Started more than fifteen years ago, Project Lifesaver is not just the first, but 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 tracking equipment, but also in the methods necessary to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease, Autism or a related cognitive disorder. Project Lifesaver was the innovator then and fifteen years later continues to innovate with PAL.
PAL is only available through the Project Lifesaver program.
For more information about Project Lifesaver International and PAL technology, please visit our website at http://www.projectlifesaver.org or contact:
Senior Communications Advisor
Public Relations Coordinator-Special Projects