Founded by Public Safety Officers, Project Lifesaver International (PLI), is an organization whose sole mission is to provide a timely response to save the lives of adults and children with Autism, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, Dementia, and other conditions, who wander. Started in 1999, PLI has offered public outreach programs to educate others about wandering. They have also provided equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement and public safety officials through the country. These trainings include in-depth information on the use of specialized electronic search and rescue equipment technology and most importantly, how to communicate with people with cognitive or developmental conditions. PLI has over 1200 agencies in 45 participating states. They have performed 2,421 searches in the last 11 years with no serious injuries or fatalities ever reported.
How it works:
- If you are a family member or a caregiver of a loved one that wanders: Call (757) 546-5502 or contact your local agency to enroll your loved one in Project Lifesaver to receive a small personal transmitter (which can be worn around an ankle or wrist) which emits an individualized tracking signal. If a registered client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. The recovery time for a person wearing a transmitter is approximately 30 minutes, (95% less time than a standard operational procedure).
Typical costs to enroll will vary by agency and location. Ask your local agency if they participate in grant funding to find out about wristbands at discounted rates or at no charge.
- If you are an agency that would like to receive Project Lifesaver training: Submit a letter of intent to PLI. A sample letter of intent can be found here. Training can include two days of on-site instruction (for up to 15 people in your agency), provided by a State Coordinator or by PLI’s own staff. Each new agency will also receive training on Alzheimer’s, Autism, and other disorders, to help when responding to a missing client. Costs may vary on agency and location.