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Thanks to Project Lifesaver

One of the least known and yet most important programs in Suffolk is definitely Project Lifesaver.

Project Lifesaver outfits program participants with transponders that emit a signal that can be picked up by special devices stored at each Suffolk fire station. Most participants are children with a condition like autism or adults who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

When a call is received that a program participant is lost, rescue personnel can take their search devices to the location where the person was last seen and usually are able to find and rescue them speedily.

According to the Project Lifesaver website, recovery times across all Project Lifesaver agencies average 30 minutes. That’s significantly less than the hours, days or even weeks that can be spent on a search without Project Lifesaver — and of course, the longer the search goes on, the less likely a positive outcome becomes.

The program, which started next door in Chesapeake but now is international, boasts more than 3,521 rescues in its history. In the most recent rescue, on Jan. 23, a Spotsylvania resident with Alzheimer’s was found in three minutes.

In recent years, Suffolk’s Project Lifesaver program has made a greater effort to bring in money to help fund the program. Those efforts got a boost Monday when the Pilot Club of Suffolk made a $1,000 donation to help Project Lifesaver purchase a search drone.

This drone will be a great asset to the program as it advances the technology it uses for this vital effort.

We appreciate everything the Pilot Club and Project Lifesaver do for this community.