WELCH, WV (WVNS) — The McDowell County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a new way to search for missing people who have dementia or special needs. Thanks to a grant from Reconnecting McDowell and other organizations, Sheriff James Muncy is able to train all of his deputies in Project Lifesaver.
“Project lifesaver is a program for people who have dementia, diminished mental capacity, autistic and they have a tendency to wander,” Muncy said. “This program will allow us to attach a bracelet to them and to track them if they do wander.”
Without Project Lifesaver, the average search time is nine hours for a missing person. With Project Lifesaver, the average search time once deputies arrive on scene is around 30 minutes. Muncy said in a rural area, this program is essential to finding more missing people alive.
“Well the weather too, especially now if somebody became lost in 20 degree weather hypothermia would set in. So it’s very important to hurry and try to get those people back home,” Muncy said.
Another plus of the program is many other counties and surrounding states belong to the program, meaning more people are prepared so more people can be found.
“What we are looking at doing is issuing everybody a card with their information that way if that person does become lost in another state they can give that card away,” Muncy said.
Project Lifesaver will start on Friday, March 5, 2021 in McDowell County. To sign your family member up for Project Lifesaver, contact the Sheriff’s Department for an application.
For more information on the project, visit Project Lifesaver.