The New Canaan Police Department announced that it will participate in Project Lifesaver, a program designed to track and rescue those with cognitive conditions who tend to wander, including those with Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome and dementia.
Representatives from Project Lifesaver International, the leading organization in electronic search and rescue programs, conducted training and provided certification to several New Canaan officers. Training included teaching officers how to use the equipment and how to gain the trust of and communicate with people who wander, as well as to ensure that caregivers are well versed in the program -- all of which are essential to a successful rescue.
Clients enrolled in the service will wear a wrist-watch sized radio transmitter on their wrist or ankle. The transmitter constantly emits a radio frequency signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person is -- a densely wooded area, a marsh, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel. When a loved one goes missing, caregivers notify the police and they are dispatched to the wanderer's area and the average rescue time is approximately 30 minutes.
"The New Canaan Police Department is pleased that we have the opportunity to become involved with the Project Lifesaver program," Police Chief Edward Nadriczny said. "The equipment and training provided in conjunction with the program will allow officers in our department to quickly respond and locate residents of our community who wander because of Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, dementia or autism. Project Lifesaver will provide the New Canaan Police Department with a valuable tool that will allow us to offer a specialized service to best insure for the safety and well being of residents of our community who have a specific need."
Project Lifesaver develops public outreach programs to educate others about the issue of wandering, and they constantly work toward developing public policy and effective law enforcement response to help save lives and "bring loved ones home."
On Aug. 7, at 10 a.m., officers will demonstrate how the equipment works and will be available to answer questions. The demonstration will take place at the New Canaan Police Department.
This service is now available. Families and caregivers can enroll their loved ones by contacting 203-594-3522 or 203-594-3523. For more information, contact Project Lifesaver at 1-877-580-LIFE (5433) or www.projectlifesaver.org.
Established in 1999, Project Lifesaver International (PLI) is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Chesapeake, Va. Project Lifesaver works with local law enforcement agencies in more than 1,000 communities in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Canada to protect some of society's most vulnerable citizens. PLI provides training and support to all agencies and continues to work with organizations on education and awareness regarding the issue of wandering. Visit www.projectlifesaver.org.