Project Lifesaver International offers a reliable program for locating missing persons of any age and providing safety through a proven, rapid response system. Project Lifesaver provides a practical and affordable solution for bringing loved ones home should they become lost, and giving peace of mind to family members and caregivers.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office partners with Project Lifesaver and LoJack SafetyNet to utilize technology that can help keep vulnerable loved ones out of harm’s way.
What is Project Lifesaver?
Project Lifesaver is a system that is used to help rapidly locate vulnerable people of any age who have a tendency to wander or become lost. In the event a vulnerable person becomes separated from their caregivers, this system serves as a tracking tool to quickly help bring him or her to safety.
Project Lifesaver International is a non-profit corporation. Project Lifesaver services are administered through partnerships with law enforcement agencies (police or sheriff’s departments), such as the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office. When a client subscribes to these services through LoJack SafetyNet, equipment, forms, and training are provided.
Who is a typical client of Project Lifesaver?
The typical Project Lifesaver client includes people of any age with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, or Down Syndrome. In addition, people who have had a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other short-term memory ailment are also clients.
How does it work?
When a client subscribes to Project Lifesaver services a personal locating unit device (about the size of a wristwatch) is attached to their wrist or ankle. The strap is very similar to hospital identification (ID) band. This device is waterproof and worn at all times (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The band transmits a radio pulse every second.
In the event a client cannot be located, family members or caregivers contact the law enforcement agency by dialing 911. Informed that the missing person is a Project Lifesaver client and told of his or her last known location, law enforcement and public safety agencies quickly mobilize to locate the missing or lost person. Project Lifesaver enables responders with a better way to locate him or her using tracking radio receivers. The range of these transmitters is about one mile on the ground and up to seven miles from the air.
Why Project Lifesaver?
According to Project Lifesaver International, as people with Alzheimer’s lose their short-term memory, they can develop “mission impossible” type of reasoning and return to former places of employment, residence, school, or other places that they were “supposed to be.”
- At age 65, 10% of the population has some degree of Alzheimer’s. By age 85, that number increases to 50%. Since people are living longer, the 5 million people with Alzheimer’s are projected to increase up to 15 million by the year 2030.
- One child out of 50 births has some degree of autism. People with autism typically have a lessened sense of fear and may be calmed by water resulting in an increased risk of drowning. At the same time, people with autism may be anti-social, may not respond to their name, and often hide from searchers.
- Searches without Project Lifesaver often involve many volunteers supervised by law enforcement and public safety personnel. Transportation for volunteers must be provided to the search location and searchers must look anywhere and everywhere.
- Research shows that if a person with Alzheimer’s is missing for 24 hours, there is only a 50% survival rate.
- Prolonged searches require food and water for the volunteers. Search costs are very high despite the use of volunteers.
- Searches with Project Lifesaver involve only a few trained people with the tracking equipment and average less than 30 minutes. As of July 2015, there have been over 3,000 searches using Project Lifesaver in North America in the past 16 years. All missing persons have been found alive.
Where is Project Lifesaver available?
As of July 2015, Project Lifesaver is available in 48 states. A few states have implemented Project Lifesaver statewide. In Minnesota, there are more than 30 law enforcement agencies that are certified to offer Project Lifesaver. The number is growing rapidly.
How much do Project Lifesaver services cost?
The cost for Project Lifesaver varies depending on the program option that is best suited for a particular client. The first year costs runs approximately $500.
Stipend money may be available for those who cannot afford the fees. Monthly battery changes require cutting off the band and replacing it. This is performed by trained Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office volunteers and personnel.
How does a person get started with Project Lifesaver?
Ramsey County residents should contact the Project Lifesaver Coordinator at ProjectLifesaver@co.ramsey.mn.us or 651-266-7332. As part of the application process, clients are screened for appropriateness for the program.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office provides local information about Project Lifesaver and LoJack SafetyNet. Please contact the Project Lifesaver Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-266-7332.