Project Lifesaver: Nearly 25 years of bringing loved ones back home

Non-profit group leverages technology, works with public safety agencies to locate ‘at-risk’ individuals prone to wandering

It says what it does, and does what it says.

Project Lifesaver is a remarkable non-profit organization that has been operating since 1999. Its mission is to provide law enforcement, first responders and caregivers with a specialized program that aims to protect and quickly locate “at-risk” individuals who are prone to wandering—ensuring that those who need assistance receive it promptly and efficiently.

The organization provides those individuals with a waterproof bracelet containing a transmitter with a unique frequency signal.

Public safety agencies—including first responders with specially trained search-and-rescue teams—are equipped with a receiver and can pinpoint the individual’s location—a process that, to date, has resulted in more than 4,200 successful rescues in the U.S. and Canada.

The program is designed for anyone with a cognitive impairment or neurological disorder, including autism or Alzheimer’s Disease, that may lead to wandering off unsafely.

In northern Minnesota, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office has been a part of the Project Lifesaver program for roughly eight years, and Sgt. Rob Billings says the program is all about “giving (caregivers) peace of mind, and most finds are very, very quick. Once we lock on to the signal, usually it doesn’t take probably more than 10 minutes or so for us to find them.”

Enbridge is committed to safety—it’s the foundation of everything we do. As part of our Fueling Futures program, we presented a grant of $2,500 to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office in support of its involvement with Project Lifesaver program, to provide new equipment as needed.

As it happens, the son of an Enbridge employee was the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office’s first client enrolled in Project Lifesaver back in 2015.

“This program gives my family an additional sense of security and peace of mind,” says Enbridge mechanical technician Ryan Humphrey, whose son Jackson has autism. “The program is so amazing—the effectiveness is second to none.”

For those caregivers interested in learning more, Project Lifesaver’s website includes an interactive map that offers contact information for the hundreds of participating agencies across North America.

Sgt. Billings also encourages fellow agencies to participate in the program.

“Having the bracelet on for them, whether they ever walk away again, gives caregivers peace of mind, and it gives them that ability to sleep comfortably at night even if they do take off,” he says.

(TOP PHOTO: From left, Enbridge mechanical technician Ryan Humphrey, his son Jackson, Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs and Beltrami County Sgt. Rob Billings.)