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Project Lifesaver helps families find lost loved ones

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    LINCOLN, California (KCRA) — A bracelet about the size of the average watch could be the difference between life and death in the Placer County city of Lincoln.

The bracelets are part of a program called Project Lifesaver. The bracelets emit a radio frequency that helps police officers locate someone who has wandered away from home and my not be able to find their way back.

The program aims to help those with cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia and autism.

“For those who live with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, it’s very common for them to wander. It’s a very dangerous and life-threatening habit,” said Natasha Stevens with the Placer County Healthy Brain Initiative.

Her agency helps fund the program that is currently being offered for free to those who sign up.

Officers are undergoing a multi-day training exercise in which they are learning how to use handheld radio receivers that help them locate a missing person.

“Each transmitter that person wears has its own frequency,” Project Lifesaver trainer Elva Valasek said. “They can tune their receiver to that frequency and then they can go out and search for that person.”

Searches that could take six to nine hours now take an average of 30 minutes, according to Project Lifesaver, not to mention resources tied up during that time.

“Everybody gets involved within the department, sometimes volunteers, sometimes helicopters, sometimes other agencies are involved — it can be hours to find a missing person without this device,” Valasek said.

Client caregivers sign a contract promising to check the device battery daily and have it swapped out every 60 days.

Those participating in the free service say the contract is worth the benefit.

“This is peace of mind knowing if my child gets lost or my loved one gets lost that they will be found,” Valasek said.

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