Yancey Sheriff’s Department Begins Project Lifesaver Program

Yancey County Sheriff’s Office is excited to share with our community that we are now offering a new service called Project Lifesaver. The main goal of Project Lifesaver is to be able to quickly and safely locate adults and children who have an inclination to wander due to an array of cognitive conditions.   This program is designed to assist our specially trained team in tracking the transmitters, which participants of the program wear either on their wrist or ankle.

As America ages, incidents of wandering by elders with cognitive impairments, such as those that accompany Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, are expected to rise in the United States.  Wandering by children with autism is common, dangerous and puts tremendous stress on families.  If you are or know of someone who is a caregiver who has the responsibility of providing safety for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, or other disorder, then you know all too well the feeling of ‘fear’ that they could wander off and become lost.

Our process begins by identifying those individuals, through referrals or direct application, who could benefit from the services offered by Project Lifesaver. Persons, who are at risk or prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering, are fitted with a radio transmitter that is about the size of a watch and worn on the wrist or ankle. Upon an elopement, the participant can then be tracked by our specially trained team using the Personal Locator System.  This system is designed to locate the transmitter up to a mile away and reduces search time, which can make a difference between the safe return or a serious injury or even death of the individual.

At this time, the Sheriff’s Office is able to provide those individuals who qualify for the program, a transmitter at no cost, thanks to the generous donations of our community during out Shop with a Cop/Project Lifesaver fundraiser held in October.  The batteries and bands are changed every 60 days, with the family having a minimal cost for the upkeep.  Our hope is to acquire further funding, to alleviate the burden on the families, and to be able to offer this program at no cost.

If you are a family member, caregiver, or know of an individual that may benefit from Project Lifesaver, and are interested in applying, email Project.Lifesaver@yanceycountync.gov  or call (828)682-2124 ext. 1848.  For questions, more details or if you would like to donate to Project Lifesaver contact Chief Deputy Shane Hilliard.

Project Lifesaver is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.