By Jennifer Morrissey
Customer Care Specialist, SafetyNet
When I attend conferences and events, I’m lucky enough to meet a lot of parents and caregivers. And it is safe to say that a lot of people don’t know what Radio Frequency is. It is also safe to say that I didn’t know much about it before I joined SafetyNet.
I feel it is important for me to say right away that each family needs to find a system that works for them, whether it’s RF, cellular or GPS. Eloping or wandering is a serious issue that affects those with cognitive conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Down syndrome, brain injuries and other serious conditions. And while the families have already prepared for a wandering incident by using special locks around the house on doors and windows, alarms and fences – sometimes it is just not enough. I have heard many parents of children with autism describe their son or daughter as “Houdini.” No matter what lengths they have taken, their child is still able to get out.
It is when your loved one gets out of the safe, secure area of your home that the SafetyNet™ Service comes into play. Once you realize he is missing, you will undoubtedly call 911 about this emergency. Since law enforcement is going to do the search anyway, you may want to add the SafetyNet Service to the tool box and help bring your loved one home sooner. The average missing person search is roughly nine hours. Nowadays, you don’t have to go very far to read a story in the news or on Facebook about someone missing overnight or even for days. And with the cold weather coming, every minute counts. The SafetyNet Service could bring them home within minutes.
Now on to why I feel RF is the best locating device for a missing person.
Radio Frequency is not obstructed by concrete. Not steel. Not densely wooded areas. And, it can work in shallow water.
How many times have you had a dropped call on your cell phone? Or maybe you can’t even make cell phone calls from inside your own home or office. Sometimes your cell phone will be in a “dead zone” where you may get a “No Service” message. Basically, you need to be near cell towers in order to use a cell phone. So if you find yourself in an area where there is too much distance between the towers or no towers at all (usually in remote areas), the phone won’t be able to find a signal and therefore you’ll get “No Service.” Essentially, your loved one could be wearing a cellular device and end up somewhere without service and the signal would not get picked up.
Last week, I was using the GPS in my car and when I pulled into an underground garage, it stopped working. The reason for that is because the GPS unit needs a direct line of sight to the sky andsatellite from which it is getting the directions. Because I went into an underground structure made of concrete, the GPS could not communicate with the satellite and lost contact.
Two weeks ago, SafetyNet was used to find a missing teen with autism. The police found him within minutes in an underground subway system of Boston. Radio Frequency was able to penetrate through the subway system and onto land, where officers with the MBTA Police were able to pick up a signal using SafetyNet’s equipment and head to the location of the missing boy. You can read more about that story on BostonHerald.com.
I also mention to parents and caregivers that the equipment that public safety officers use can pick up the RF signal in the SafetyNet bracelet up to one mile on the ground and up to 7 miles in the air. SafetyNet equipment has been used multiple times by aviation units to find a missing person, including this past week in Philadelphia – http://www.metro.us/philadelphia/local/article/975850–police-missing-man-located-with-safetynet-technology.
The last thing I talk about has nothing to do with RF, but I find it incredibly important. During the training that public safety gets from SafetyNet officials, they not only learn about using the equipment but also on how to approach and interact with someone who has a cognitive condition. We here at SafetyNet take the time to learn about your loved one during the enrollment process so that we can share that information in a secure database with public safety agencies. That way, they have a sense of who your son, daughter, mother, father or loved one is before they even reach the scene. Is your son afraid of dogs? Does your father walk with a cane?
The SafetyNet Service uses tried and true RF technology. That along with trained law enforcement, you can feel good about your loved one on the SafetyNet service. Enroll before the end of September by October 15, 2011 and get waived enrollment and six months free.