Worried about a Loved One who Wanders?
The Tewksbury Police Department launched the Safe Watch Program with the use of Project Lifesaver last year and we wanted to send this out as a reminder. If an at-risk child or adult wanders away from their safe environment, the police have the information on file to quickly respond and attempt to locate the missing person.
Project Lifesaver is a 501(c)(3) community-based, public safety, nonprofit organization that provides emergency responders and caregivers with the equipment and training required to protect and, when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive conditions that cause the propensity to wander, such as those with Alzheimer’s or autism. Through the use of state of the art radio frequency technology, innovative search and rescue techniques, and accredited first response training, Project Lifesaver member agencies have, to date, successfully located more than 3,600 special needs individuals during an episode of elopement; the average recovery times for these rescues are less than 30 minutes, which is 95% less time than standard operations. Information about Project Lifesaver can be found at Project Lifesaver International | Bringing Loved Ones Home.
The Safe Watch Program encourages residents to contact Tewksbury police if they have a family member who has a propensity to wander, suffers from disabilities or you feel is at high risk and that the information would be helpful to responding officers. This will enable police to quickly push out the information to all officers with one click of a button in the event that someone has gone missing. In addition to wandering, the Tewksbury Police Department also wants to be able to better serve residents with disabilities by having the information before responding to a call. Officers will be better prepared to deal with any situation, to include medical issues, behavioral issues, or mental health issues that may arise.
Those who meet the criteria will be provided with a Project Lifesaver GPS bracelet which will be able to be tracked by trained officers in the event the individual goes missing.
If you have someone you would like to have in the Safe Watch Program, you can fill out the Medical Alert Form at Safe Watch | Tewksbury MA (tewksbury-ma.gov) and drop it off at the police station at 918 Main St. You can also email the form with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org . Each person will be entered into the Safe Watch Program database; a review by a TPD clinician will determine the suitability for the Project Lifesaver Program.
For information, call Family Services Officer Kimberly O’Keefe at 978-851-7373, ext. 240.