“Project Lifesaver’s primary mission is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to conditions or disorders primarily related to Alzheimer’s, autism, and other related situations,” according to a press release from Sheriff Terry Wilson.
Coosa County joins 1,200 agencies throughout Alabama, the United States, Canada and Australia in providing the service.
“This program bridges the technological gap for at-risk populations and public safety agencies by providing law enforcement and other first responders with a comprehensive program to aid in assisting families and caregivers,” the release said. “It includes equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue those individuals with cognitive disorders who are at constant risk to the life-threatening behaviors of wandering.”
To be eligible for the service, a candidate must have around-the-clock caregivers and a letter of recommendation from his or her attending physician.
Caregivers and family members will be asked to complete an acceptance application, which requires detailed information regarding the condition, care and circumstances of the person.
Project Lifesaver’s small tracking bracelet can be worn on the wrist or ankle, and can save time, trouble and lives.
“The average search for someone without a bracelet is nine hours, at about $1,500 an hour,” the release continued. “The average search time in the air via a helicopter is around 15 minutes for someone wearing a bracelet.”
Some 80,000 people in Alabama have been diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The Alabama Department of Public Safety is supporting Project Lifesaver and has begun to seek funding to provide the $350 bracelets to people at no cost.
In Coosa County, Wilson is planning fundraisers, sponsorships and a donation program to cover the cost of the bracelets.
Personnel from the Sheriff’s Department have been trained and equipped to operate the program. Deputy Tim Lipscomb serves as the project manager, and reserve deputy Joe Camp assists as a certified instructor. Other trained team members are reserve deputy Ray Weaver, reserve investigator Joel Glover, chaplain Jeff Fuller and chief deputy Joseph Davidson.
Wilson said he is proud to participate in the program. “This is just another way we will live up to our motto, ‘Serve and Protect,’” he said.
Coosa County residents interested in signing up a relative for the program should visit the Sheriff’s Department in Rockford or call the department at 256-377-4922.