By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
ECSO looking to start Project Lifesaver in county
Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, right, with Sunrise Rotary President Bonnie Dixon, told Sunrise Rotary members his office wants to institute Project Lifesaver and what it will take to do that. - photo by Photo provided

Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie spoke to the Sunrise Rotary Club in Effingham County announcing his intentions on bringing Project Lifesaver and the CARE CALL Reassurance program to Effingham County.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office will seek funding and also will be holding fundraisers in the near future for this program, which has proven to save lives.

What is Project Lifesaver?

Project Lifesaver is about people and partnerships. It is a proactive response to identifying citizens within the community who have been known to become confused, have a tendency to wander and may not be able to return safely on their own. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Down’s syndrome and other such disorders can now be located through state of the art technology. The program is run by members who are specially trained, not only in the use of the electronic tracking equipment but also in ways to communicate with those that may be confused and disoriented.

Over 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s. That number will grow to 15 million by 2030. Well over 50 percent of these people wander and become lost. A lost person with Alzheimer's or other dementia represents a critical emergency. They are unaware of their situation; they do not call out for help and do not respond to people calling out to them. Nearly half of them will die and many can become injured or fall victim to predators if they are not located within 24 hours.

How Project Lifesaver works

Project Lifesaver is much more than a passive ID bracelet. It is an active system that relies on state-of-the-art technology and a specially trained search and rescue team. People who are part of the Project Lifesaver program wear a personalized bracelet that emits a tracking signal. When caregivers notify the local Project Lifesaver agency that the person is missing, a search and rescue team responds to the wanderer's area and starts searching with the mobile locator tracking system. Search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. In hundreds of searches, there have been no reported serious injuries or deaths. Recovery times average less than 30 minutes.

The Project Lifesaver CARE TRAK bracelet is much more than a passive ID bracelet. It is a one-ounce battery-operated radio wrist transmitter emitting an automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. The signal is tracked on the ground or in the air over several miles. As each bracelet has a unique radio frequency, the Project Lifesaver search team positively locates and identifies the person who has wandered away from home or a care facility.

The goal is to provide the benefits of the program to all in need regardless of their ability to pay.

Project Lifesaver depends upon the support of the community. For more information or inquires on donations, please contact the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office at 754-3449.