GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– There’s a high tech tool to ensure that loved ones with health issues, at risk of wandering, get back home safely.
Guilford is the latest community, the seventh one in the state, to sign up for Project Lifesaver.
Mom Linda Toscano, concerned about the safety of her son, diagnosed with autism, initiated it.
She keeps a close eye on Gavin, who first wandered away when he was three-years-old.
“It was the scariest two minutes of my life,” she recalled, “I was changing his sister’s diaper and I looked up and the back door was open and he was gone.”
The nine-year-old has Autism.
Toscano stressed, “you try to be vigilant as you can and do whatever you can to keep your kids safe but they find opportunities when they least expect it.”
After other tracking devices failed, Tosacano found out about Project Lifesaver and persuaded the Guilford Police and Fire Departments to sign on.
“It’s another tool on our belts that we can use to help save lives, ” said Program Director, Detective Martina Jakober.
She added, “60% of Alzheimer’s patients are known to wander repeatedly most often and with autism you get at least 50% that wander.”
Now adults and children like Gavin, at risk of wandering, can wear a waterproof ankle or wrist bracelet with its own radio frequency.
So that emergency personnel can find them within a mile radius.
The key to a successful rescue — a 30 minute window.
Det. Jakober explained, “a lot of times people will look, and look and look and then they’ll call us, sometimes an hour or two later and at that point we’ve lost our good window of trying to track them.”
Batteries are replaced every 30 days by the department.
Toscano shared, “he was a little at first, not too happy with it and tried to take off but they get used to it.”
Private donations and a grant paid for the equipment, as well as training for police officers and firefighters.
“I sleep better at nights,” said Toscano.
The transmitter cost $300 for families.
Those who can not afford it can apply for assistance.
Right now, the program is only for Guilford residents.
To find out if your loved one qualifies for Project Lifesaver or want to donate to the program, call the Guilford Police Department at 203-453-8061 and ask for Detective Martina Jakober.
For more information on Project Lifesaver – www.projectlifesaver.org