"100 percent success rate:" New device called Project Lifesaver can help bring lost loved ones home
OZAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There's now a device that can help bring lost loved ones home. It's called Project Lifesaver. Ozaukee and Dodge Counties are already using it and the Beaver Dam Police Department is trying to raise money for it.
Before they got Project Lifesaver, both Elizabeth Courtois and Kristi Hartzheim worried about the day their child may wander off and not come back.
“Your heart drops. You think the worst. I mean you scream his name you call his name are you hiding? Where are you?” said Kristi.
Right now more than 30 Wisconsin counties are enrolled in Project Lifesaver. The program equips children and adults who are likely to wander with a transmitter that looks just like a watch and emits a signal.
If the person takes off and is wearing the device law enforcement can track them down using a receiver sometimes in less than five minutes.
“Ultimately when we deploy it we engage the antennae then set the frequency on the unit to the frequency on the unit that the child is wearing,” said Wayne Lambrecht of the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff’s Office tested the unit by sending a detective wearing a transmitter on her wrist out into a large parking lot.
Project lifesaver is credited with locating several dozen people in Wisconsin and more than 3,400 people between the U.S. and Canada.
“They have one hundred percent success rate with this program,” said Lambrecht.
Right now both the Ozaukee and Dodge County Sheriff's offices are enrolled in Project Lifesaver, “When you look for somebody without this equipment you're kind of at a loss. You're trying to figure out where did they go and why did they go,” said Deputy Kevin Harvancik of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.
Right now Beaver Dam is fundraising to purchase the equipment, “It's terrifying for the family. A lot of times they wander towards a water source. We have a river here. We have a lake here,” said Sergeant Eric Smedema.
Neither Dodge nor Ozaukee County has had to do a search yet but they are ready when they're needed.
“Every minute that they are alone their lives could be in danger,” says Lambrecht.
Elizabeth: “All I have to do is make a call and it's mobilized as quickly as possible,” says Elizabeth Courtois.