Sudbury police using wearable tech to find vulnerable missing people

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Greater Sudbury Police have a new tool to help find vulnerable missing people.

Project Lifesaver is an international search and rescue program that uses technology to find people who are prone to wandering, such as those with Alzheimer’s or autism.

Sudbury police have partnered with the Alzheimer Society of Sudbury Manitoulin North Bay & Districts, Autism Ontario Sudbury & District, Down Syndrome Association of Sudbury and North Shore Search and Rescue to offer the program locally.

Eric Gosselin, the Missing/Vulnerable Person Coordinator for Sudbury police, said Project Lifesaver is a “caregiver driven” program.

Caregivers of vulnerable people can work with a local agency to sign up for the program and then the individual is outfitted with a special bracelet.

“We install the bracelet, we sign up the person on vulnerable person registry, here at the Greater Sudbury Police Service, and then that way their information is stored securely,” Gosselin explained.

The bracelet has a transmitter that emits a specific radio frequency. If a person wearing the bracelet is reported missing, police and search and rescue can access the signal through the registry and then coordinate a response.

Program offers ‘peace of mind’

There are currently six Project Lifesaver clients registered in Sudbury. The program has also been available in Sault Ste Marie, the Espanola area and southern Ontario.

Gosselin said the technology gives caregivers “peace of mind.”

He added that searches using the technology average 30 minutes, according to statistics from Project Lifesaver International.

“In the event that their vulnerable family member does wander away, they know … that it won’t be one of those standard two day searches,” he said.

Gosselin said Sudbury police and its partner organizations are now putting the word out to the community, to encourage more people to sign up.

The program costs $240 annually, with the money going towards replacement batteries for the transmitters and purchasing more bracelets in the future.



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