SOUTH POINT, OHIO (WOWK) — Project Lifesaver in a national program that provides protection to families in case one of their loved ones wander off, and a local sheriff’s department in Ohio wants to extend the program to one of its more rural areas.
Places like South Point in Lawrence County, Ohio are much more rural compared to the bigger cities in the Tri-State area, and if someone were to wander off or go missing it could create problems for local first responders.
“Lawrence County is such a vast area. A lot of wooded areas and an area where someone is just not going to be walking down the streets. They may wander into the woods,” said Sheriff Jeff Lawless, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff said those who have a tendency to wander off with heightened concern are individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia and autism, and on Monday night the Lawrence County Sheriff’s office and the Concerned Citizens of the Burlington Area introduced residents in the South Point area to the Project Lifesaver bracelet at the Fayette Township Fire District station.
“I remember one where it was actually snowing outside, so if this person did not have this bracelet on they could have had hypothermia and ended up dying,” said Lawless.
The Project Lifesaver bracelet has a small transmitter attached to it, and someone can wrap the bracelet around a wrist or ankle, and check it daily with a battery checker.
“It helps give people peace of mind if this person should wander off,” said Lawless.
The sheriff said the department’s radio antennas can pick up a signal within three miles and they have been able to locate some people within 30 minutes.
The cost of the bracelet is $350, but they have been able to offset those costs thanks to donations from the community.
“To my knowledge, we haven’t had to charge anyone for a bracelet. The bracelets have been given by donations by companies,” said Lawless.
Anyone interested in a Project Lifesaver bracelet just needs to come down to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and fill out an application, and if they meet the criteria then they can possibly get a bracelet that day.
Sheriff Lawless said his department started participating in the program in 2008, and over that time they have had about 25 successful searches and rescues thanks to the bracelet.