Local Sheriffs and the Portage Health Foundation Bring in Life Saving Program

Through tragedy comes hope. The Portage Health Foundation, sheriff’s departments in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties, and Superior Search and Rescue are implementing Project Lifesaver. After a search and rescue in Ontonagon County in April, Detective Lieutenant Charles Kline from the Houghton County Sheriff’s office began looking into programs to help families with cognitively impaired loved ones. Kline said as father of a child with Down’s syndrome he felt it was his duty to look for a way to make search and rescues more efficient.

Project lifesaver allows law enforcement agencies to locate the person wearing the bracelet thanks to an individualized RF radio signal transmitted from it. This older technology is useful in the Upper Peninsula because GPS and satellite coverage are spotty in the region. This is especially true when searching in dense forests and tough winter terrain. The agencies will start training for Project Lifesaver this week.

The grant funding for the program will cover the start-up cost for each department. It also pays for up to fifty applicants to the program in the first year. The bracelets are available for children with special needs and senior citizens with dementia or Alzheimer’s. PHF hopes that with enough interest, they will be able to continue covering the cost for families who want to join the project lifesaver program.

Applications to join the Project Lifesaver program are expected to begin in November, with families receiving bracelets in December this year. To learn more about the program and the Portage Health Foundation’s grant go to www.phfgive.org/projectlifesaver or www.projectlifesaver.org