The Clay County Sheriff's Office is now a part of the Project Lifesaver International program and is the coordinating agency for Clay County. Ground search equipment is in place at the Sheriff’s Office, and should air support be needed, the Alabama Department of Public Safety Air Operations Division will be ready to assist.
The Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Project Lifesaver in order to provide a search and rescue service for patients who are prone to wonder away from their homes. Members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Drug Task Force received training from members of the Alabama Department of Public Safety on use of tracking equipment associated with project lifesaver. It is reported that there are over 4 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease and half of these are in the wandering stages. Alzheimer's disease affects the short-term memory. Symptoms usually involve forgetfulness, difficulty with abstract thinking, disorientation, personality changes and loss of judgment. Patients begin to not recognize family and friends and tend to live in the past.
When a patient reaches the wandering stage, that of walking off from home and being unable to return, it can be a very dangerous situation and it represents a critical emergency. The patient is at the mercy of the elements, be it cold, hot, water loss or failure to take necessary medications. Project Lifesaver is a program developed in 1999 by the 43rd Virginia Search and Rescue in Chesapeake, Virginia. Utilizing equipment developed by Care Trak, Inc., Project Lifesaver now has the ability to track Alzheimer's patients that walk away from their home. The patient is fitted with a transmitter no bigger than a watch, which is worn on the wrist. The frequency is recorded by the attending agency, along with other pertinent information about the patient. Should the patient walk away, the Care Giver notifies the agency and a search is begun immediately using the Care Trak CTR-1000 receiver. The signal from the transmitter can be picked up by ground and air patrol units and the patient located quickly. Search times that have normally been as long as days can now be reduced to less than an hour.
Anyone who has a friend or relative with Alzheimer's disease, Autism, or Down's syndrome (where a patient might be prone to wander away) who is interested in the Project Lifesaver program can contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office at (256) 354 2176 or complete the form below.