Corporate Excellence 2019

152 CORPORATE VISION / Global Excellence 2019 , Jan19643 CORPORATE VISION / Issue 3 2019 23 Founded in 1999, the Project Lifesaver program began when it became apparent to Gene Saunders that there was a major void that needed to be filled in providing search, rescue and protection for “at risk” individuals who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering. For the past 20 years, Gene’s clear and singular focus has been on providing one of society’s most vulnerable groups and their caregivers the support, protection, and peace of mind they need, while delivering the tools and training to public safety agencies that are responding to individuals with cognitive disor- ders who tend to wander. Project Lifesaver was the first organiza- tion to apply tracking technology for the search and rescue of in- dividuals with cognitive disorders and has remained the leader, the Gold Standard, in this field for the past 20 years. As a result of his efforts, the Project Lifesaver program is in all 50 states and throughout Canada with nearly 1,600 member organizations. The success of the program can also be measured by the lives of the “at risk” individuals and their fami- lies that the program has touched with nearly 3600 rescues. Because of his extensive expe- rience in special needs search and rescue, Gene Saunders has provided valuable insight and information in the development of policy and practices for search, rescue, and safe recovery of at risk wanders. In addition to this, Gene has helped in the development of materials and 20 Years and Counting Project Lifesaver International is a 501 (C) (3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue and other first responders with a comprehensive education, training, and technology based program. The Project Lifesaver program protects, and when necessary, provides public safety agencies with the search and rescue tools they need to safely recover individuals with cognitive disorders who have wandered off from a safe environment including those with Alzheimer’s disease and Autism. training programs to provide the necessary education of doctors, caregivers, school administrators, first responders/search person- nel, and of course, the families of special needs individuals. In fact, Project Lifesaver is a subject matter expert and advisor on the wandering issue for: Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s disease (LEAD), National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Alzheimer’s Foundation, and the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and the International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. Project Lifesaver also partners and collaborates with the following organizations on special needs wandering issues: • Autism Speaks • Bureau of Justice As- sistance, Department of Justice’ • National Sheriff’s Associ- ation • Council for Autism and Neurodiversity • Pilot International • National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners • Unicorn Children’s Foun- dation • Virginia Sheriff’s Association • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America • Virginia Airborne Search & Rescue Squad The Project Lifesaver training pro- gram is recognized and approved by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and certified by the National Prepar- edness Institute at Indian River State College. Project Lifesaver partners with local first responders, educating those public safety agencies on the latest health information re- lated to the disorders they will be working with, and training those first responders to approach the “at risk” individual, gain their trust and put them at ease for their trip home once they have been located. Experts estimate that today over 5.7 million people have Alzheim- er’s disease, and the numbers are expecting to multiply in the years to come. Nearly 60% of people with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point during the progres- sion of the disease, and many will wander repeatedly. A recent study estimates that 46 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia who wander off will die if they are not found within 24 hours. Additionally, children with autism and Down syndrome also have a tendency to wander, and in a recent National Autism Associa- tion survey, nearly 92% of parents felt their autistic child was at risk of wandering away and becoming lost. At-risk individuals enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program wear a personalized wristband that emits an exclusive radio frequency tracking signal assigned only to the bracelet wearer. Once the local Project Lifesaver agency is notified of the missing person, a search and rescue team responds to the wanderer’s last know location and searching commenc- es using the Project Lifesaver receiver and antenna. Project Lifesaver also provides training programs that help public safety officers better understand the symptoms and behaviors of the individuals that they are re- covering. These training programs give first responders the tools to assess and effectively manage the safe and comfortable return of the “at-risk” individuals they encounter. To date, Project Lifesaver agencies have conducted nearly 3,600 successful rescues. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for Project Life- saver clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations. Contact: Gene Saunders Company: Project Lifesaver International Address: 201 SW Port St. Lucie Blvd #203, Port St. Lucie, Florida, 34984, USA Telephone: 001 772 446 1273 Web Address: