Digby County Ground Search and Rescue has a new tool for finding family members who wander off.
“With this receiver we can find people in minutes rather than days,” says president Larry Brooks.
Digby Search and Rescue has purchased two directional radio frequency receivers that allow them to find individuals outfitted with a special bracelet transmitter. Brooks says the program is for people with cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s or autism who wander and are continually supervised by a responsible caregiver or family member.
“Some of these people are on a mission when they wander off,” says Brooks. “They can cover four miles an hour and they may not be aware of the dangers around them.”
Clients wear a small bracelet, similar to a hospital bracelet, which sends out a signal on a unique frequency. The caregivers test the bracelet daily and make sure the batteries are changed once a month. It costs $300 to sign up for the program and $25 a month thereafter.
If the client goes missing the caregiver simply calls 911 who would directly notify search and rescue and tell them which frequency to search on. Search and rescue has two car top antennas that can pick up a signal within 400 metres. The handheld devices can pick up a signal within 1.5 km. The system works through concrete walls and heavy forest.
Eight members of Digby Search and Rescue trained on the device and five took further qualifications to become trainers.
To sign up for the program, the care giver needs a letter from a doctor confirming the client has a condition that puts them at risk of wandering.
No one in Digby County is currently wearing a bracelet but search and rescue is just in the process of informing the community that the program exists here.