The Smithfield Police and Fire Departments have implemented the Project Lifesaver/LoJack SafetyNet Program, a system for tracking and rescuing those with cognitive conditions who tend to wander. The service answers a critical need for protecting people at risk of wandering, including those with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, and dementia. In September, 2009, the town agencies jointly entered into an agreement with Project Lifesaver International, a non-profit organization specializing in electronic search and rescue programs. The program utilizes technology provided by the LoJack Corporation. As part of its expansion into this market and commitment to protecting people at risk, LoJack has provided each Smithfield agency with two SafetyNet Search and Rescue receivers, at no cost.
Clients enrolled in the service will wear a LoJack SafetyNet Personal Locator Unit (PLU) on their wrist or ankle. The PLU constantly emits a Radio Frequency (RF) signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person has wandered – even into a densely wooded area, a marsh, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel. When a client goes missing, the caregiver notifies the local participating agency, which dispatches trained users to the wanderer’s area. Utilizing the portable, handheld search and rescue receiver, the user is able to track the signal from a considerable distance, greatly reducing search areas and times, saving lives, and reducing injuries.
Participation in the Project Lifesaver/LoJack SafetyNet Program requires a one-time enrollment fee and a monthly subscription fee, payable to LoJack SafetyNet. Anyone seeking general program information should contact Captain Robert W. VanNieuwenhuyze at the Smithfield Police Department, (401) 231-2500, extension 104, or e-mail at email@example.com. Caregivers seeking specific subscription information, including program registration and payment options, are encouraged to contact LoJack SafetyNet Marketing Specialist Alicia Coogan toll-free at (877) 434-6384, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Project Lifesaver International has provided mandatory training to several members of the Smithfield Police and Fire Departments, certifying each member as an Electronic Search Specialist (ESS). The Smithfield Senior Center has joined the program to assist in client enrollment and PLU battery changing operations. PLU batteries must be changed monthly, to ensure operating integrity. Police, fire, and senior center officials are looking forward to working together with Project Lifesaver/LoJack SafetyNet, to provide this valuable service to the residents of Smithfield.