Project Lifesaver an invaluable aid in safely locating lost elderly man

PERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thanks to a nifty tracking device known as the Project Lifesaver bracelet, an 81-year-old Person County man who wandered away from his home during the middle of the night is back home safe with his family.

It was at 6 a.m. when family members noticed that he was gone. Home cameras were installed in the home to see him leave during the middle of the night.

After the family filed a missing person's report, investigators checked surveillance video from a local store and saw the man walking through the parking lot around 3:40 am. From there, police were able to where the man was headed.

Once deputies were deployed, the Project Lifesaver equipment came in handy, pinpointing the man's location thanks to the bracelet that emits a designated radio frequency allowing search crews to locate him in the span of ten minutes.

Sergeant Kevin Morris with the Person County Sheriff's Department said this was the first time they have had to use the equipment. Once a bracelet is put on an individual, a representative visits once every 60 days to change the battery and inspect the device.

Morris leads the program in his department and says the device is credited with assisting in helping to locate thousands of individuals safely all over the country.

"There have been over 3,700 times since its inception and the average locating time is less than 30 minutes," Morris said. Yesterday, it took a little longer that's because he had made it a little over three miles from his house and we had to find the area. But once we had a good location where to start from like I say, within 10 minutes we had him."

Family members say the temperatures were in the low 20s when he wandered away. Other than a cut on his head from a fall and feeling cold, the man checked out OK.

The device costs about $325 dollars and family members say it was priceless in helping save their loved one. They plan to move him into a new living facility and will donate the Project Lifesaver device to a family who could benefit from it once he's settled in.
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