What is Project Lifesaver?
Project Lifesaver Saskatoon is a service through Saskatoon Search and Rescue, designed to reduce the time that at risk individuals with cognitive disorders are missing. Utilizing radio frequency locating technology, the Project Lifesaver program originated in 1999 in Chesapeake, Virginia and has been credited with over 3000 rescues.
How does Project Lifesaver Work?
An individual enrolled in the Project Lifesaver Program is referred to as a client. Clients wear a unique pre-programmed one ounce battery operated transmitter either on their wrist or ankle at all times. This transmitter will emit a unique tracking signal every second, 24 hours of the day.
When a client goes missing, it is up to their caregiver to call (306) 975-8300. Police will be notified and will contact Saskatoon Search and Rescue to respond. When activated, they use a mobile directional radio frequency receiver to tune into the client’s pre-programmed frequency. Listening for the client’s unique tracking signal will lead responders to the client, whether the client is stationary or mobile.
It has been proven that signals from the water-resistant transmitters can be tracked through obstacles such as concrete walls and heavy forest and can be tracked on the ground or in the air over several miles.
Who can use the Project Lifesaver program?
Individuals who live with a cognitive disorder and are at risk to wander or bolt can be considered as a candidate for the Project Lifesaver program.
The Project Lifesaver program is not available for those who do not have a responsible individual or caregiver caring for them 24 hours a day. The Project Lifesaver program is not a substitute for care or supervision.
Where is Project Lifesaver available in Saskatchewan?
Project Lifesaver Saskatoon is only available in the city of Saskatoon at this time.
As a caregiver, is there anything I should consider before my loved one is enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program?
If your loved one is subject to sensory overload, it is highly recommended that you prepare them prior to enrollment in the Project Lifesaver program. This process may greatly reduce the stress on your loved one and those caring for them once they are enrolled.
First you should consider whether the ankle or wrist would be the best placement for the transmitter. If it is their wrist, it should be placed on the dominant hand. If your loved one is ambidextrous, the choice will be for yours or your family’s.
Once the wrist of choice is identified, it is recommended that you have your loved one become familiar with wearing something on their wrist at all times, whether it is a watch, band, bracelet or something similar. This may be trying at first but with consistency and patience, your loved one will eventually accept the presence on them.
The purpose of this preparation is to reduce the stress for them wearing the transmitter as at first your loved one will most likely pick at or attempt to pull it off themselves.
Placing a transmitter on the ankle is sometimes less stressful for an individual and is an option to consider. This option is also available if it is decided the individual cannot accept wearing the transmitter on their wrist.
I am interested in enrolling a loved one in the program, what is required?
A doctor’s letter or note is required for the individual whose family wishes to have them enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program. The letter must include the name and date of birth of the patient and also indicate what cognitive disorder(s) the individual lives with and that they are at risk to or have wandered or bolted from care. Only letters from doctors will be accepted.
Who do I contact to start the enrollment process?
To start the enrollment process, contact us by one of the methods on the Contact Us page of the website. We will put you in contact with one of our enrollment advisors.
What happens during the enrollment process?
Once arrangements for a representative to enroll your loved one have been made, a representative will attend your residence. They will have a copy of the Client Contract for you or a family member to sign and will complete a data collection sheet and collect any necessary paperwork. They will explain the reporting procedure if your loved one goes missing and fit your loved one with a transmitter, making sure to answer any questions you or your loved one have.
Before our representative leaves your property, they will ensure the transmitter is working properly and take a few notes regarding the surroundings of your home which includes GPS coordinates and any potential hazards for a wanderer.
The time needed to enroll a client will vary but can usually be completed in approximately one and a half hours, although sometimes two separate visits are required.
What guarantee is there that Project Lifesaver Saskaton will locate my loved one should they go missing?
We would like to say there is a 100% guarantee; however, there is no such thing, regardless of the technology or method utilized. It must always be remembered that when working with people, each situation will be different. Project Lifesaver does have the most successful record in the world. This has been accomplished through a combination of training, methods, procedures and the latest technology which is tested often in real world situations. The best protection is to have trained personnel with the latest equipment available, respond and conduct these searches. The success record of this approach speaks for itself.
What takes place during the monthly maintenance visit?
Once a month, an assigned Project Lifesaver volunteer will be in contact with you to make arrangements to change your loved one’s transmitter’s battery.
The appointment usually lasts fifteen minutes and most often will take place in your loved one’s home. The visit will consist of the volunteer reviewing and collecting the completed monthly caregiver log sheet and providing a new form, removing and inspecting your loved one’s transmitter, cleaning any residue before lubricating the ‘o ring’ and replacing the battery before placing the transmitter on your loved one. The volunteer will address any issues or concerns and will schedule your loved one’s next monthly visit before they leave.
Does the transmitter need to be removed when my loved one bathes, showers or swims?
Transmitters worn by clients in the Project Lifesaver program are water resistant. Your loved one can continue hygiene and extra curricular activities such as swimming without concern for the abilities of the transmitter they wear.
I am concerned that my loved one will be able to tear off the vinyl strap. Is there a stronger strap that can be used?
There is a one inch leather strap which can be worn by a client. The recommendation for wear would be mainly dependent on the individual who it is intended for. This strap is not designed for children or individuals who have smaller wrists. A specially designed transmitter is needed due to the thickness of this leather strap.
My loved one has a skin condition that causes their skin to be easily irritated. Will the strap irritate their wrist?
Most clients in the Project Lifesaver program have had no issues wearing the standard vinyl strap. If your loved one has a skin condition that may cause some concern, please inform your enrollment representative. They will make arrangements to obtain special straps for use by your loved one. These straps were designed for individuals with sensitive skin.
What if the transmitter is removed from my loved one?
In the event your loved one wanders or bolts from care, and the transmitter is not on them, it cannot assist with locating your loved one.
Please realize when a transmitter is placed for the purpose of the Project Lifesaver program it is not to be removed from the client. If your loved one somehow removes it themselves, you will need to notify Project Lifesaver Saskatoon as soon as this is realized. We will have someone attend to place the transmitter back on your loved one.
What if the transmitter is removed from my loved one due to medical treatment?
Sometimes a client may be admitted to hospital for medical procedures or in an emergency situation. Although it is encouraged that the client’s transmitter be left on, in some circumstances medical professionals will need to remove the transmitter from your loved one in order to provide them appropriate care.
If your loved one is faced with this situation, please notify us as soon as possible. If the transmitter is removed to allow for medical care, you will need to make arrangements to have the transmitter placed back on your loved one as soon as possible or move the transmitter to the other wrist or an ankle temporarily. While the transmitter is not on your loved one for this purpose, you will need to continue with security measures appropriate for your loved one at the current stage of their condition. You should also discuss your loved one’s participation in the Project Lifesaver program with your health care provider.
My loved one will be travelling outside of Saskatoon. Will they still have access to Project Lifesaver programming?
If you are planning a trip outside of Saskatoon with a client enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program, depending on where you may be travelling to, Project Lifesaver may be available.
There are over 1200 participating Project Lifesaver agencies around the world located in different regions of Canada, throughout the United States and Australia. Please contact us by one of the methods on the Contact Us page of the website to inquire about coverage for your destination. In the event you are travelling to an area not covered by a Project Lifesaver response team, a portable receiver may be available for use by the caregiver. Please contact us for more information regarding travel.
My loved one will be travelling by air. Will airport authorities remove their transmitter?
Before air travel, please contact us by one of the methods provided on the Contact Us page of the website. We can provide you with information to explain the transmitter function and purpose to airport authorities during your travels.
What information can you provide about the use of other tracking technologies?
From Chief Gene Saunders, CEO and Founder of Project Lifesaver International
“I have been asked often, in the past 12 years, about GPS and cell phone tracking and why we have not gone to it or endorse it. My answer is simple:
GPS and cell phone tracking are great; if you know how to use it and make sure you stand in the open, under a cloudless sky. Over the years, we at PLI have observed many tests of this technology and have conducted several ourselves. Each test renders the same results: GPS and cell phone tracking are not reliable enough to place a person’s life in jeopardy by its use. Too often, it completely failed or placed the location of the person far away from their actual location. For example; we incurred many failures if the person with the GPS unit was under anything or masked the unit with their body. For instance, in a house, under an overpass, in a car, under thick trees or in some cases thick cloud cover. These are the same instances where RF (radio) tracking did locate the person. We have one documented instance where GPS was being used in a search and rescue training exercise, it failed and a search had to be launched for the person wearing the unit. We have also tested several units in large downtown areas and it either failed completely, by loss of signal or sent to us to a phantom location. One company engaged in this technology, after I challenged their results, finally placed a disclaimer on its website, stating – anything capable of blocking sunlight may block GPS signals. So, if you are asking me if I endorse or recommend GPS/cell phone tracking, my answer is; for airplanes, boats, or any situation where life is not immediately in peril and the person using it understand how it works and stands out in the open, it will probably work. If not, don’t bet your life or someone else’s on it.”
My loved one’s condition has changed and they no longer require Project Lifesaver services. How do I remove my loved one from the program?
Please contact us through the website. We will have a representative attend your residence to have a Release from Program Form completed and signed before the collection of the transmitter and tester which was provided for use by your loved one.