Project Lifesaver helps find people

A partnership between the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and area Lions Clubs is adding peace of mind for residents who have loved ones who might wander off.

President Cindy Beat said Seneca County Project Lifesaver, created in June 2015, helps find people in need of 24-hour care who might not be able to find their way home if they wander, Beat said.

Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry said 10 people in the county are using the program and they are scattered from Fostoria to Attica.

Eckelberry said clients wear a transmitter that puts out a round-the-clock signal and law enforcement and rescue personnel have receivers to pick up the signals. The transmitter can send a signal out to about a quarter-mile, depending on weather, trees, buildings and other factors that might effect the signal, he said.

“Each client has a frequency that is unique to them,” Eckelberry said.

About 35 people in the county are trained with the devices, he said.

Every deputy is trained, and personnel from Attica Police Department, Attica-Venice-Reed Fire District, Green Springs Police Department, Tiffin Fire Rescue Division, Fostoria Police Department and Fostoria Fire Division also have been trained.

“There’s a receiver in the trunk of every deputy’s car,” he said.

Eckelberry said they recently had two days of training with the equipment and training is on an “as-needed” basis. He said the first day involved learning about the program and equipment and working with the devices around the sheriff’s office and the second day included scattering transmitters around the county and having personnel locate them.

“They can find them pretty quickly,” he said. “They do a good job.”

Eckelberry said without this equipment it could take days to find a missing person. However, the national average using Project Lifesaver is 30 minutes.

Beat said caregivers check the transmitters every day and Eckelberry said receivers are tested monthly.

Since the program’s inception, one client has wandered off, but a local fire department member found the person before Project Lifesaver equipment could be brought to the area, Eckelberry said.

He said Project Lifesaver is a valuable program for the community.

“I think it gives peace of mind to family members knowing there is equipment and trained people in place to help find their loved ones,” he said.

“This is a great project that is beneficial to the community,” Beat said. “It really is a good thing.”

Lions Clubs serve as the fundraising arm of the organization, she said.

Eckelberry said Seneca County Lions Clubs are looking into getting a drone to aid in searching for people as a next step for Project Lifesaver.

“The Lions Clubs do an awesome job generating funds for us to purchase equipment,” he said.

A Seneca County Project Lifesaver cash raffle is planned for Nov. 6 and prizes of $500, $300 and $100 will be awarded, Beat said.

Tickets are being sold for $5 or 3 tickets for $10, Beat said. She said any Lion’s Club member can be asked about tickets and Project Lifesaver will be selling tickets at the Seneca County Opportunity Center Craft Show at Seneca County Opportunity Center, 780 E. CR 20, today and at the Cash-N-Carry Craft Show at Attica Fairgrounds, 15127 E. TR 12, Nov. 5.

There also will be a basket raffle in the spring with details to be announced, she said.