In the near future, when Arrowsmith Search and Rescue gets called out to look for an older man with grey hair who has wandered off, they won’t have to check every second pedestrian in Qualicum Beach.
That’s because, said spokesperson Ken Neden, the group has begun training to take part in Project Lifesaver, which is designed to track and rescue seniors and others with cognitive issues who tend to wander.
The program, Neden said, involves fitting people suffering with Alzheimers and other cognitive conditions with wrist-watch sized transmitters, each of which has its own frequency. If the client wanders off, special tracking equipment wielded by SAR volunteers will allow the quick and efficient retrieval of the wanderer.
Neden said the program, which was started in the United States and has been picked up in Victoria, has shown impressive results.
“It has a 100 per cent success rate, with an average search time of 30 minutes,” he said. “If we have a call about an elderly grey-haired gentleman missing in Qualicum Beach, this will make it a lot easier. Searches now can go on for hours and days at times.”
Project Lifesaver International, the leading organization in electronic search and rescue programs conducted training at the ASAR hall on Saturday, with Ken Snider, with Search and Rescue B.C.
The transmitter constantly emits a radio frequency signal which can be tracked, regardless of where the person has wandered, even in dense bush, an underground garage or a building constructed with steel.
Under the system, when a loved one goes missing, their caregivers notify police, who in turn call out ASAR.
The service will be available in late November. Families and caregivers can enroll their loved ones by contacting D’Arcy Falkiner at 250-240-2852.
For more inforamtion contact Project Lifesaver at 1-877-580-5433, visit their website at www.projectlifesaver.org or the SAR website at www.asar.ca.