Technology can improve many aspects of life, including the dreaded search for a lost loved one, but people have to actually use the technology.
“We’ve had the technology for about a year, but unfortunately we only have four people signed up,” said Arrowsmith Search and Rescue’s (ASR) Barry Blair of their Lifesaver Project.
Caregivers of people with dementia, or any kind of cognitive issues including concussions, can sign up to have them wear a personalized radio transmitter.
In the event that the wearer disappears, the caregiver can notify authorities, who have the technology to track the person.
While local searchers haven’t had a chance to use the device yet, it has been used in over 2,600 searches elsewhere and proven very effective.
Blair said the value of the program was really clear this summer when 70 people spent two days combing Qualicum Beach for an elderly man with dementia who’d wandered off before.
They did find the man in good shape, but Blair said a couple people in cars could probably have found him within hours, if not minutes, if he’d had a transmitter.
“It’s just a matter of getting the word out there,” he said.
ASR is working with the RCMP and the Nanaimo Lifeline Program, which administers the program and signs people up. For more information and to sign up, contact Lifeline at Lifeline.Nanaimo@viha.ca or 250-947-8213.
For more on the project in general visit www.sarbc.org/sarbc/projlife.html, for more on the local search and rescue organization visit www.asar.ca.