Project Lifesaver to help find vulnerable missing people
Mark Villani, CTV Saskatoon
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 2:44PM CST
Last Updated Friday, April 21, 2017 6:25PM CST
A new project aims to help keep vulnerable people in Saskatoon from wandering off.
The Saskatoon Police Service is teaming up with Saskatoon Search and Rescue over the next few months for the initiative, called Project Lifesaver.
People with autism, Alzheimer’s disease or other special needs can be registered in the program, which will see them wear bracelet devices that transmit an individualized radio frequency. The device is already in use in some Canadian cities and has helped to find more than 3,000 people in North America.
Kent Orosz with Saskatoon Search and Rescue said the device will help locate missing people on the ground within a three- to five-kilometre radius.
"Police or search and rescue groups can login to a database to find a specific frequency of that bracelet and tune into that frequency with specialized receivers,” he said. “The receivers are deployed by trained ground search and rescue teams in vehicle or on aircraft to determine the direction of the subject."
In 2016, SSAR volunteers were called out on 17 occasions to help find missing people in Saskatoon.
The group has been called out four times so far in 2017.
The project is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and is expected to roll out in Saskatoon in the next few months.
The Saskatoon Police Service Foundation said they will need $20,000 for equipment. Each device costs $350.
Chair of the foundation, Vera Pezer, said Project Lifesaver will help to prevent vulnerable people from going missing.
“There isn’t a day goes by where you hear a news report of somebody going missing and often they’re elderly or they go wandering off,” Pezer said.
“I think there’s a need in the community and it contributes to assisting people who are at risk, and if we can find them more quickly and more safely it will certainly help their families.”
Proceeds from next month’s Saskatoon Police Service Half Marathon will go directly to the fundraising effort.