BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - “I think the bracelet really was a lifesaver, I’ll put it like that.”
Pell City resident Edith Word said she got the location transmitting Lifesaver bracelet for her now late husband Harvey after a scary few hours when he went missing.
“Before my husband was actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he was a big walker. One day he decided to go a different way or explore, and he got his self lost. It took me almost two hours to locate him,” Word said.
When she got him home safely, her family and friends told her about Project Lifesaver and the bracelet. She says after receiving the device, it brought a sense of security for her, their children, and even Harvey. To get the bracelet she contacted her local sheriff’s department, who then connected her with the project.
Law enforcement agencies across the state are trying to share info about the potentially life-saving device with families, who may have relatives with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other conditions that make them prone to wander and get lost.
Corporal Kent Smith with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says it’s a vital tool in search and rescue missions, especially when every hour, minute, and second could be the difference between life and death.
“The average search without a bracelet on nationwide was nine hours, but with someone with a bracelet on, operating properly, the search was only 30 minutes,” Smith said.
The bracelet uses radio frequencies unique to each person, so as search and rescue teams on the ground or in the air using a receiver get closer to the lost person, a chirping sound gets louder and louder. Smith said that’s how we’re able to pinpoint exactly where the person is located.
“My ultimate goal is to make sure that all of these families realized what they have access to with these devices,” Smith said.
It’s a device that brought tranquility to Edith and the Word family during the final years of her husband’s life.
“It was a peace to know that if he should wander, he would be found.”
If you’re interested in getting the LifeSaver bracelet for a loved one, contact your local sheriff’s department, ask for the Project Lifesaver coordinator, and they’ll direct you through the process. You can also go to projectlifesaver.org for more information.
There’s also another device that’s partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association called the Medic Alert Safe Return. It works as an ID bracelet, so it can be helpful if a person is lost while driving or in public. You can find out more information about this device by going to this link.