SPECIAL REPORT: Project Lifesaver Demonstration

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BARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- Imagine that your grandparent, handicap child or family member wanders off. How will you locate them? 72% of wanderers are repeat wanderers. In this special report, 13 News finds out what surrounding counties are doing to tackle this issue.

The Glasgow/Barren County Emergency Management utilizes a national program called Project Lifesaver- an innovative way to help victim's with Alzheimer's disease, Dementia or special needs.

"They locate people they don't track people,"​ says Tracy Shirley, Director of Glasgow/Barren County Emergency Management.

It all starts with a bracelet that is a transmitter.

"If you were the caregiver you notice the person missing, you immediately call us and we go to the last point seen," says Shirley.

While it's not a GPS, that allows the device to be more affordable and last longer.

"The batteries last at least 30 days, so that helps on that end of it. As to if you had an electronic GPS or a phone then you would have to charge it up nightly or daily," explains Shirley.

13 News joined the emergency management team on a Project Lifesaver demonstration.

"The first thing you do in that area is triangulate," says Anita May, Deputy Director.

Before we started detecting, Gary Chenoweth, another Deputy Director put on the bracelet and hid.

"We have antennas that we can put on our vehicles that increases the strength of these until we get to the location and then we're gonna switch to mobile like we're doing now," says May. "We're communicating with the other people who have the receivers too to get them to close in."

The louder the beep, the closer you are to the subject.

"I have the ability to do long range, and then once you locate that signal and come back to a close range to hone in," explains May.

It took us about eight minutes to locate Gary. However, on average, it takes 30 minutes to an hour to find a patient.

"My mother actually had Alzheimer and progressed to the point that if she had gotten out of her home. She wouldn't have been able to tell you who she was, where she lived or anything. It would have been a great peace of mind for myself and my family to have had something like this," says May.

"I know it helps the families to rest a little easier that somebody else is helping them watch after their loved ones."

In addition to Barren County, Metcalfe, Hart and Muhlenberg counties are also utilizing the program. Warren County plans to revamp theirs in the near future.

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