Project Lifesaver Assists 2 missing people this weekend
Durham, N.C. – Summer heat and humidity takes a toll on people. Especially at risk are children and older folks. Combine age with a mental issue like autism or Alzheimer’s, where someone may not be able to recognize the signs of heat illness or to communicate they aren’t feeling well and it becomes a very dangerous situation.
Between Friday and Sunday, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office responded to three separate incidents where individuals suffering from a cognitive impairment went missing.
On Thursday night a 95-year-old man walked away from his home. Due to the late hour, Deputies could not conduct an extensive search for him until daylight leaving him out all night. Thankfully he was found quickly near his home before the temperature climbed too high. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons two more people similarly went missing. With feel-like temperatures nearing 100 degrees the situation was very dangerous. Thankfully both individuals, who were registered with Project Lifesaver, were found quickly and returned home without injury.
Project Lifesaver is a rapid-response program that saves lives and reduces potential injury by quickly locating adults and children who wander due to conditions like Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, and dementia. Any adult or child that resides in Durham County, has a physician diagnosed brain disorder, and is known to wander away from caregivers is eligible to participate in this free service.
Once enrolled clients are given a small personal transmitter to wear on their wrist or ankle. If they go missing, the caregiver notifies the Sheriff’s Office and a trained search team responds with equipment to track and find the individual. Most people are found within 30 minutes. The service is able to be provided for free to residents through generous donations from the community and government grants.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents that this service is available by downloading an application on our website or by calling 919-560-0871.
If you’re interested in hearing more about project lifesaver and seeing a demonstration of the program call the public information office at 919-560-0826 to arrange a time.