Resident of Bramble Ridge
Master Association Board President
by Terri Wiebold
In the June 2006 issue of The Connection, CPN resident Maureen Shul (a resident of Bramble Ridge and also the Master Association Board President), along with Victor and Amy Mitchell of Castle Pines were featured as volunteers working to make Project Lifesaver a reality in Douglas County. Now the team has taken the program to the state level.
Project Lifesaver is a high-tech tracking system used by law enforcement agencies nationwide to locate adults and children suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, autism, and other related disorders who may have a propensity to wander off or get lost. Participants in the program wear a tamper-resistant wrist or ankle band transmitter that emits a silent radio signal. If someone in the program is reported missing, trained law enforcement personnel use tracking receivers to locate the signal and find the individual in a timely manner, minimizing the risk of harm. Nationwide, the time from being informed that a Project Lifesaver participant is missing to their being found is less than thirty minutes. All those who have been rescued through this program have been located safely and uninjured.
The program is receiving national attention after Victor Mitchell, now a now a Freshman State Representative, introduced his first bill (HB-1064) which passed through the House Local Government Committee earlier this year with a unanimous 11-0 vote. “This bill is fiscally conservative as well as socially conscious,” said Mitchell. “It is bipartisan and will reduce costs associated with search and rescue efforts, saving the state millions,” he said.
According to Mitchell, there are approximately 79,000 individuals in Colorado with conditions that may cause wandering. It is estimated that the number of people in Colorado with Alzheimer’s disease alone will increase to approximately 140,000 by the year 2025.
If approved, HB-1064 would provide a one-time grant for $380,000 for counties who choose to purchase the necessary equipment for the program and would allow families to receive free transmitter bands for loved ones in need. The next step is for the bill is to pass the appropriations committee, which decides on bills that cost the state money.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Hanavan administers the program in Douglas County and reports there are currently 15 local participants in Project Lifesaver. “We are ecstatic to be able to provide this tremendous program to the residents in Douglas County,” said Hanavan, “and I am sure there are far more than 15 residents in the county who would benefit from Project Lifesaver if they only knew about it.” He also noted that Douglas County has been very effective in keeping its program funded through grants and donations, making the program accessible and affordable to everyone.
“More importantly for so many, is the peace of mind it gives caregivers and loved ones,” said Shul. “Unless one has first-hand knowledge through Alzheimer’s disease, autism, or Down syndrome, it is hard to understand what a lifeline this program truly is.”
For more information about Project Lifesaver or to request an application, contact Deputy Hanavan at 303-814-7089. To view HB-1064, visit http://www.leg.state.co.us.