Project Lifesaver helps bring loved ones back home

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —  More than 16 agencies in South Carolina are helping bring loved ones home. They are a part of Project LifeSaver which is an international program that has helped more than 3,500 people get home safely. It all started back in 2006 when Sheriff Leon Lott brought the technology to the department in hopes of bringing more loved ones home.

Project Lifesaver helps “at risk wanderers,” which includes people at any age with down syndrome, autism, Aspergersrgers, alzheimer’s, and dementia.

Right now the program has 47 clients in Richland county. It uses a transmitter the size of a quarter on a wristband to send a signal that law enforcement receivers can pick up on if a wanderer ends up going missing. In a matter of life or death, cutting down a search times is critical.

“Well if you have a seizure disorder, and you have to take your medicine every 4-6 hours or whatever the medicine is, time is of the essence that we locate these people and bring them home to their families so they can get help,” Deputy Amanda Jordan said.

An average search for a patient with alzheimer’s can take up to 9 hours, and cost upwards of $30o,000; but with this initiative, their average search time is about 30 minutes. Deputy Jordan remembers the first time she was on an active search using the technology to find an elderly man with alzheimers in the middle of the summer–when dehydration can set in in a matter of hours

“He ended up getting into a car which made it extra difficult. We were about 30 minutes, 35 minutes into the search and I had gone into the Greenview neighborhood area and picking up a signal, which meant I was in close proximity to him. I ended up finding him on the front porch and was able to take him back to his wife,” Jordan said. 

For Jordan, the more than 3,500 cases worldwide shows the importance of Project Lifesaver, which is a non-profit. They rely on donations to fund the training, equipment, and upkeep of batteries and bands on the clients. The more money they raise, the more people they can bring home, and the more lives they can save.

“Each one of them, bringing back a child or bringing back a husband or wife who’s wandered off. Seeing the caregiver cry, and get emotional when they come back… that’s rewarding enough. As a career, that’s the career high,” Jordan said.

This program is completely free if you want to sign up a loved one. There are three qualifications though. Head to RCSD’s website to learn more. 

Categories: Local News, News, Richland