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Fire department launches Project Lifesaver

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The Greenville City Fire Department has partnered with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to launch Project Lifesaver, a program that provides public safety agencies and caregivers with equipment and training to quickly locate individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering, including those with Alzheimer’s, autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System has given the fire department a $20,000 Bon Secours Mission Fund grant to purchase equipment that will be provided to low-income families at no cost, according to a news release.

The grant enabled the fire department to purchase 30 transmitters and four receivers. It also helped pay for the one-time fee for the department to become a Project Lifesaver member agency along with training for local public safety personnel, including the fire department, Greenville Police Department, the Greenville County Emergency Response Team and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. More than 65 first responders have participated in joint search method training at Conestee Park, the release said.

“One of the many benefits of having a community risk reduction team at GCFD is the ability to look at our services from a different perspective and identify segments of our community that we can better serve,” Seth James, Project Lifesaver coordinator for the fire department, said in the release “Through the generous support of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, we’re able to launch a program that will hopefully give much-needed peace of mind to those families in our community who are affected by a diagnosis which causes their loved one to wander or not be able to communicate where they are.”

Eligible applicants will receive a Project Lifesaver kit, which includes a small transmitter that can be worn on the wrist or ankle. The device emits an individualized frequency signal 24 hours a day and if the person is missing, the caregiver calls 911 and provides the unique frequency, according to the release. Trained emergency responders equipped with receivers that emit audible signals indicating the proximity of the missing person's transmitter is then dispatched to help.

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