Halifax County Sheriff’s Office sponsors a beneficial program that provides a sense of comfort and ease to families of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and autism.
And recently the Dan River Community Ruritan Club presented a $100 donation to the sheriff’s office to benefit the program that many county residents are unaware of and may not be taking advantage of its availability.
According to Sheriff Fred S. Clark, “It seems that we all know someone or have someone in our family who suffers from a cognitive impaired disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, autism, etc.”
It is estimated that 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Reports indicate that about one in 68 children have autism.
“These statistics represent these types of diseases and disorders are not considered rare, and your average person more than likely knows someone directly or indirectly who has this type of condition. As with most diseases and disorders, awareness of the condition can help people understand, cope or provide some type of ease and comfort when a family member, friend or loved one has been diagnosed,” Clark said.
Many people are not aware the sheriff’s office offers such a program in Halifax County that can provide some sense of comfort and ease with individuals who have such disorders.
The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office utilizes the national program “Project Life Saver” that uses special equipment to assist in locating people with these conditions who may wander and become lost and endangered.
“Project Lifesaver is a very beneficial program to have for these individuals in the event they become missing because their impairments resulting in an increase likelihood to wander and difficulty in communicating constitutes a critical emergency and presents challenges to law enforcement during search and rescue operations,” the sheriff said.
The mission of this project is to prepare, although no one can exactly predict when a person will become lost.
Although Project Lifesaver cannot 100 percent guarantee recovery of a missing individual, the program offers an increased likelihood of being able to find individuals versus people who do not have the program.
Clark said the sheriff’s office has sent deputies to specialized training schools that emphasized how to properly use the special tracking equipment to assist in locating these individuals and how to create a plan of action in the event of the individual becoming lost.
A common question is, “How exactly does Project Lifesaver work?” Clark said.
Project Lifesaver uses a personalized transmitter that is worn around the wrist or ankle, powered by a small battery which emits a constant radio signal 24-hours a day.
Once law enforcement is notified that a person is missing, deputies identify the signal using a specialized directional antenna and are able to track the missing person.
The equipment is used on foot and in vehicles to provide maximum coverage for search efforts to aide in covering several miles using the tracking equipment.
“The program is very successful with the average recovery time being around 30 minutes from when law enforcement arrives,” Clark said noting that time is crucial during a search and rescue mission.
“One of our clients provided the following review for Project Life Saver,” Clark said.
“I got project lifesaver for my son and had a wonderful experience in the process. I stopped by the sheriff’s office to get information about the program. That same week, we received the device, and I now have peace of mind. Most people don’t know about this extra service offered to the community.”
The current cost to be enrolled in Project Lifesaver is $25 a month in Halifax County, since no local funding is provided to support the program. For that fee, the client is outfitted with the transmitter, battery tester, battery and service.
“The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office hopes that this information regarding Project Life Saver will increase awareness about the potential lifesaving benefits of being enrolled in this program,” Clark said.
Anyone or any organization who would like to sponsor an individual is asked to do so because that sponsorship will ensure a client receives the equipment, according to the sheriff.
Project Lifesaver is a 501c-3 organization, and donations are tax deductible.
For further information on Project Life Saver, contact Deputy Tommy Sargent at the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at 434-476-3334.