FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | July 26, 2005
Project Lifesaver Pushes Expansion in U.S. and Abroad to Bring ‘Wanderers' Home Alive
CHESAPEAKE, VA—Project Lifesaver International recently trained and gave the go-ahead to the first law enforcement agency in Canada to begin using its proven technology to rescue “wanderers” suffering from Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, while the organization continues to aggressively expand in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Project Lifesaver officials said they have been fielding an increasing number of calls from law enforcement officials outside North America as well. Most recently, serious inquiries have come in from Austria and Israel, for example.
Project Lifesaver was wooed by Canadian law enforcement officials to enter that country based on the organization's 100 percent success rate in the U.S.: Of the more than 1,100 searches it has conducted so far, all persons have been found alive and brought home. Individuals are armed with wristband transmitters that continuously send out radio signals; law enforcement agencies use mobile tracking devices to locate the missing. Utilizing Project Lifesaver, the average rescue time is less than 30 minutes.
The Project Lifesaver system goes a step beyond passive systems or bracelets that identify individuals with Alzheimer's disease; this system actively tracks those who wander and brings them home safely.
On July 8, the Ontario Provincial Police officially launched Project Lifesaver in Essex County, after officials completed training by top Project Lifesaver officials. That location is now up and running.
In addition, Caledon, a town in southern Ontario, has signed on and will be trained shortly, and Project Lifesaver now plans to further penetrate Canada.
Currently, more than 440 police departments, sheriff's offices and public safety agencies in the U.S. are using the proven technology—and many more are expressing interest. Just today, for instance, Leelanau County Sheriff's Office, Suttons Bay, MI, signed on.
Project Lifesaver's move into Canada marks an important expansion for the nonprofit organization, which is based in Chesapeake, VA.
“By offering Project Lifesaver in Essex County, we will be providing an important safety net for families across the border. Those who enroll can take comfort in knowing that we will be using proven technology to bring their loved ones home,” said Chief Gene Saunders, chief executive officer of Project Lifesaver International.
Eric J. Hall, chief executive officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, stated: “We encourage families to protect their loved ones with this tracking system, especially since 60 percent of individuals with dementia will wander at some point. Project Lifesaver is reliable, successful and a true lifesaver.”
Project Lifesaver and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America formed a strategic partnership last year to raise awareness of the wandering issue, educate law enforcement officials about the disease, and jointly promote the Project Lifesaver system. The wandering issue is taking on increasing significance as the incidence of Alzheimer's disease continues to escalate; it is projected that 16 million Americans will have the brain disorder by mid-century. For more information, visit www.alzfdn.org or www.projectlifesaver.org or call 866-AFA-8484.
Contact: Carol Steinberg