15-Year-Old Boy with Autism Wandered to Boston’s Subway System; Rescued by MBTA Transit Police Using SafetyNet System

Yesterday morning, a 15-year-old resident of East Boston – who has autism and is enrolled in the SafetyNet Service – wandered away from his school to one of his favorite spots – the subway system – and was rescued within approximately 20 minutes by MBTA Transit Police using the SafetyNet System. This is the first rescue in Boston since the service was made available in January 2011.

Details of the Rescue:
When school officials noticed the boy was missing, they immediately called 911. Boston Police Department dispatch notified its ground units, as well as the MBTA Transit Police Department. Police were alerted that the boy’s last known location was North Station and arrived with their SafetyNet tracking equipment. Approximately 20 minutes after arriving at North Station, officers with the MBTA Transit Police began picking up a signal emitting from the missing boy’s SafetyNet Bracelet. The signal was coming from Downtown Crossing and was strongest underground. Officers went underground into the subway, boarded a train and were able to locate the boy, who was heading southbound. Using techniques learned in the SafetyNet training sessions, the officers were able to effectively communicate with and approach the boy and ultimately safely remove him from the train. He was rescued unharmed and later brought back to his parent.

“We are proud of our transit police officers’ quick response to this emergency situation,” said Transit Police Deputy Chief Joseph O’Connor. “With the use of SafetyNet Search and Rescue Receivers, officers were able to reunite the lost child with his family within minutes.”

This is the first rescue of a client enrolled in the SafetyNet service in the city of Boston.

The SafetyNet service is comprised of a SafetyNet Bracelet worn by a client that emits Radio Frequency signals, which can be tracked by local public safety officials via their SafetyNet Search and Rescue Receivers.

The SafetyNet service is currently available to residents in Boston, as well as many surrounding towns and counties. In an effort to provide valuable protection to individuals at risk of wandering, SafetyNet, Inc. is currently providing 1,500 free SafetyNet devices — along with six months of service — now through September 30, 2011 October 15, 2011 to any interested caregivers living in SafetyNet’s coverage areas. For more information on SafetyNet and the giveaway, please contact (877) 4-FINDTHEM (877-434-6384) or visit www.safetynettracking.com.

SafetyNet now available in Boston to help protect people with autism, Alzheimer’s who wander

SafetyNet announced at a press conference that its SafetyNet service is now available in the city of Boston. SafetyNet helps caregivers provide an added layer of protection for loved ones with cognitive conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s from the life-threatening behavior of wandering. The service also provides public safety agencies with the tools and training to more effectively find and rescue those individuals if they wander and go missing.

The Boston Police Department has been trained and certified on the SafetyNet service, as well as equipped with search and rescue equipment. The department can now use the SafetyNet service to find and rescue people at risk who go missing. SafetyNet eliminates the countless man-hours that can be required in traditional search and rescue operations.

“In Massachusetts, statistics show that there are approximately 10,000 school aged children with autism and an estimated 120,000 people with Alzheimer’s. We’re very proud to offer this service, which can provide caregivers with additional peace of mind about protecting their loved ones,” said Kathy Kelleher, Vice President, SafetyNet. “Boston joins the growing list of Massachusetts communities that now offer the SafetyNet service. SafetyNet has already rescued residents in other parts of the state—and country, including the dramatic rescue of an 8-year-old boy in Quincy, Mass. who had wandered into the ocean and was rescued by local police in just 14 minutes using SafetyNet’s tracking equipment.”

To bring this valuable service to Boston, SafetyNet worked closely with the Boston Police Department. SafetyNet provided 14 sets of electronic tracking systems to Boston police. In addition, SafetyNet officials and industry experts provided certified training for police officers in each of the 11 districts located in Boston on the use of its specialized equipment to find and rescue individual clients enrolled in the service. The Search and Rescue Receivers, certified training and ongoing support are provided at no cost to the Boston Police Department or taxpayers.

How SafetyNet Works

Once caregivers enroll their loved ones in the service, they receive a SafetyNet Bracelet, which is worn by the person at risk typically on their wrist or ankle. The caregiver provides information about the client to assist in search and rescue, which is then entered into a secure database. SafetyNet provides 24×7 emergency caregiver support.

The SafetyNet Bracelet constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal. Radio Frequency is the technology of choice because, unlike cellular and GPS technology, its signal doesn’t rely on cellular networks or satellite signals and can often be tracked when a client wanders into a shallow body of water, a densely wooded area, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel.

The Search and Rescue Receivers used by public safety agencies can detect the Radio Frequency signal emitted from a SafetyNet Bracelet typically within a range of approximately one mile in on-the-ground searches and 5-7 miles in searches by helicopter.

The SafetyNet certified training for public safety agencies focuses on its specialized electronic equipment, technology, procedures and on how to effectively communicate with and approach individuals who have cognitive conditions. SafetyNet’s secure database contains information on each individual client enrolled in the service so that the search and rescue team can have information on the individual’s personal habits and how he or she should be approached, spoken to and comforted.

Resources for Caregivers

SafetyNet offers SafetyNetSource, an online information and resource center designed to assist caregivers seeking tips on how to protect their loved ones who wander. SafetyNetSource offers compelling content from across the web, access to the SafetyNetSource Twitter feed and YouTube channel, a Facebook page to help caregivers communicate with one another and engage in a community of support, plus a variety of valuable resources for caregivers such as a form to distribute to the local first responders and neighbors that may be helpful in the event their loved one wanders.

Availability & More Information

For more information about SafetyNet, please call (877) 4-FINDTHEM (877-434-6384) or visit safetynettracking.com

via New Service That Helps Police Find and Rescue People Who Wander Now Available… — BOSTON,  Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –.

Police receive autism training

The trainers shared some great tips on dealing with autistic people in emergencies at this session in New Jersey. Turn off the lights and sirens to avoid sensory overload, for example.

Emergency situations can be precarious for anyone involved.

But imagine dealing with someone who doesn’t respond to their name or doesn’t respond at all. There is a chance he or she is a person with autism. This is an added challenge for emergency responders and professionals who have to answer these types of calls everyday.

SNAP, a non-profit out of Morristown, offers trainings to heighten students’ awareness of autistic and special needs children.

This was the first SNAP training of its kind. The group came to the Short Hills Mall on Oct. 11 to train township police and first responders on how to adapt to emergency calls involving people with autism

via Police, squad members receive autism training – NorthJersey.com.

Police study wandering of Alzheimer’s, dementia patients for search and rescue

Steven Williams, a San Francisco firefighter who lives in Oakland, Calif., had just finished a 24-hour shift when he returned home and told his mother’s caretaker she could take the rest of the day off.

His 88-year-old mother, Katherine Oppenheimer, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and requires constant supervision. Still, Williams thought he could get away with a 15-minute nap.

He awoke to find that she had wandered out of the home. “It was one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “I would rather run into a burning building than go through that again.”

This time, Williams’ harrowing moment ended well. He found his mother quickly, a few floors up in the same apartment building where she lives. But like a growing number of families coping with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, he fears a repeat episode.

In 1980, about 2.8 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia. But with longer life expectancies and advanced treatment for other diseases such as cancer, that figure has nearly doubled in 2010, to 5.3 million, according to Elizabeth Edgerly, a chief program officer with the Alzheimer’s Association, a national advocacy group.

In all, 42 percent of people 85 and older will get Alzheimer’s, Edgerly said.To deal with the increasing numbers, police agencies are training officers how to search for wanderers.

“The ability to recognize dementia has improved over the last 20 years,” said Rick Kovar, emergency services manager for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. “The science behind searching for people with Alzheimer’s has become efficient and scientific.”

via Path of dementia less of a mystery – Family – Modbee.com.

SafetyNet available in Marshfield, Mass., to find people with autism, Alzheimer’s who wander

Marshfield —With training having been completed June 22, the Marshfield Police Department has officially added Safety Net to its public safety arsenal.

The program, which has been implemented by police and fire departments nationwide, will provide Marshfield officials the tools they need to swiftly track down and rescue those who have wandered from their caregivers.

“People who want to sign up can go online with Safety Net or come here,” said veteran Marshfield police officer Ralph Poland, who on a recent afternoon behind the police station learned first-hand — along with several other officers and firefighters — how to use the advanced tracking equipment.

Poland, who is helping to implement the program, said police and fire officials know that it only takes a moment for a resident with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or any other condition that may predispose them to do so to wander off or disappear. In North America alone, according to Safety Net figures, more than 5.8 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, and the majority may have a tendency to wander.

via Police, fire officers complete SafetyNet training – Marshfield, MA – Marshfield Mariner.