PALM SPRINGS, Ca.
The Palm Springs Police Project Lifesaver Unit will receive a new shipment of tracking devices for individuals with cognitive disabilities who are prone to wandering.
"It has survived all of the modern technologies such as GPS and cell phone technology, and it is really the gold standard for locating people who wander," said Project Lifesaver Coordinator William Johnson.
The wrist band device sends out a signal once every second and if an individual disappears the project lifesaver unit searches for the signal. Once the signal is found, the lifesaver team will usually find the person within about 30 minutes. For those with autism this can be particularly important.
"They like to go near water but they are not good swimmers. So we need, if we have an autistic client, we need to get out there quick," said Johnson.
One caregiver whose autistic son wears the device says it is invaluable.
"It gives us such comfort to know that if for some reason or other we can’t find him quickly or don’t know where he is, the tracking device is immediate," said caregiver Helen Cordell.
Caregivers need to test the device once a day and every month a member of the project lifesaver unit goes out to change the battery. Since the project was first introduced about 4,000 individuals have been located nationwide.
"I wouldn’t be without it. I would not be without it because it’s such a piece of mind," said Cordell.
Low income families may be eligible to receive a tracking device for free or it can be purchased for around $300 dollars. For more information on the devices, visit projectlifesaver.org or call the Palm Springs Police Department’s Project Lifesaver Unit at 760-323-8149.