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Lifesaver services now available

The sheriff's departments of Pierce and St. Croix counties now have application forms available for families wishing to enroll as clients with Project Lifesaver.

Project Lifesaver uses state-of-the-art personalized radio transmitters for people who are at risk of wandering away from their homes and becoming lost. The transmitters are designed to help locate individuals with Alzheimer's disease, autism, dementia, Down syndrome and related conditions.

The intent is to begin accepting the applications in January and to implement the program in February.

After months of fundraising, local advocates have the $20,000 needed to establish the program in the two counties.

Earlier this fall two officers from Pierce County and two from St. Croix completed Lifesaver training. These officers are now search specialists and certified trainers and can train other personnel in their departments.

Project Lifesaver uses wristwatch-size radio transmitters that provide a constant radio signal.

If a client is lost, the caregiver should immediately call 911, and trained personnel will be dispatched to the last known location to begin the search. Program supporters say it takes an average of 30 minutes to find a person using this technology.

These are the enrollment procedures:

• Caregivers complete an application that includes verification from the individual's physician that he or she is considered at-risk for wandering.

• Trained personnel will meet with the individual and caregivers. If it is determined that Project Lifesaver is appropriate for that person, a client profile will be completed.

• There is an initial fee of $300 for the equipment and a $10 monthly fee to maintain it. Funding options may be available for those who need assistance.

• All information will be confidential and used only for emergency situations.

For information, contact Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, 715-273-5051, nancy.hove@; or Investigator Shawn Demulling, St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, 715-377-5808, shawnd@