The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office began offering the Project Lifesaver program to its citizens in 1995 and upgraded the equipment in 2017 to meet changing frequency requirements. This program is funded through contributions and grants. There is no charge to enter the program. The only cost is if equipment is damaged, the client is responsible for replacement cost.
Project Lifesaver is a search and rescue program operated by Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, and is strategically designed for “at risk” individuals who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, Down Syndrome, Dementia and other cognitive conditions. The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition. Project Lifesaver is the trusted and proven program dedicated to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive conditions that cause the life-threatening behavior of wandering.
The Project Lifesaver method relies on proven radio technology and specially trained search and rescue officers. Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small transmitter on the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized frequency signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Sheriff’s Office and an emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. The first responders will then use the client’s individualized frequency to locate the position of the individual and bring them back to safety. This program is free to citizens residing within Columbus County.
Citizens who are eligible to be clients of the Project Lifesaver program are as follows;
1. Must be a PERMANENT resident of Columbus County.
2. Must be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Downs Syndrome, Autism or and other verified mental related disorder.
3. Must have a caregiver that is with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
4. Must NOT be allowed to operate ANY kind of motor vehicle.
5. If the client is in a long-term care facility, the device must be paid for in advance with the client and caregivers understanding that the fee is for the use of the system and that the Sheriff’s Office owns the device (without exception).
6. Any client or caregiver must understand that the service is being provided because they requested it. If any willful attempt to destroy or alter the device occurs it will be grounds for them to be permanently removed from the program.