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Brooke County officials learn Lifesaver Program

Updated: Tuesday, July 15 2014, 01:35 PM EDT

wtov9.com
BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. -- What if you could find a missing person with a tracking device? Well you can. It's called the Project Lifesaver Caregiver Program.
It's a device that could save lives, and it's coming to Brooke County, where coordinators trained county EMS officials, law enforcement, and officers from Beech Bottom.
It's the latest of 38 West Virginia counties to use the technology.
Among those at Monday's training was Barb Polgar, whose 9-year-old autistic son recently wandered off, and she didn't know what to do.
"He just escaped in a pair of underwear because they don't have the knowledge to know a lot of times to get dressed, to put on shoes," Polgar said. "We did find him, but it's a big safety concern for these kids because they are drawn to water. That's why a lot of the kids are found in water and the outcome doesn't always turnout like mine did."
This technology is in 48 states.
"Over 2,800 searches and they've all been successful -- no fatalities, no serious injuries," said Sue Patalano, who is the West Virginia State Coordinator for Project Lifesaver. "Forty-four of those searches have been in West Virginia, and again, they have all been successful "
The transmitter bracelet  that is wrapped around the ankle is waterproof and you barely know it's there.
"The transmitter sends a signal once every second. Receivers are used to track that signal only when the person has wandered," Patalano said.
The bracelet has a frequency number on the back of it. If a person with a disability were to wander off, their caregiver calls 911 and gives the dispatcher the person's frequency number.
Once that information is given, EMS officials or police officers then key the number into receivers.
"We have an antenna that goes on top of the car," Patalano said. "It has a quarter-mile range around the vehicle. When we drive from our place to the point last seen, we listen for that signal on the way."
The rescue time is usually about 30 minutes.

Brooke County officials learn Lifesaver Program


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