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Police Search and Rescue Press Release

February 03, 2011

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Merced County Upgrades Search and Rescue Technology to Improve Safety for Impaired Persons

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Frisco, TX —Merced County has joined the growing list of other progressive California communities that have upgraded their search and rescue technology for locating wandering and lost persons. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department is proud to announce the availability of the EmFinder’s EmSeeQ wearable locator system that uses cellular technology to quickly locate individuals who are prone to wandering due to cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism and dementia.

The wearable watch-like EmSeeQ system uses the nationwide U-TDOA cellular technology, which locates more than 60 million 9-1-1 calls a year, to accurately determine the location of the device wearer, enabling rescuers to quickly find him or her. The system helps eliminate time-consuming search and rescue operations that can jeopardize the lost individual’s safety and cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Beginning in February, free EmSeeQ bracelets will be available for use by county residents with a diagnosed cognitive disorder. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department provides the devices; individual families are responsible for registering them and paying the monthly $25 fee for location services.

“We are eager to take advantage of the most modern technology to improve the safety of our residents in Merced,” said Deputy Sheriff Michael Hill. “Our previous radio frequency system wasn’t ideal for this kind of search and rescue of a lost individual, which made it cumbersome and tedious. EmSeeQ is designed specifically for situations in which an impaired individual wanders away or intentionally evades being discovered. So far, the feedback we’ve received is that the cost of the service is well worth it for the added peace of mind it provides.”

EmFinders works directly with public safety access point (PSAP) dispatchers to greatly reduce the search timeframe for a rescue operation. The at-risk individual wears the bracelet 24/7 or as needed, based on the unique situation. If the individual is missing or has wandered off, the caregiver first performs a brief search. Once an emergency situation is confirmed, the caregiver calls 911 to report the elopement and then contacts EmFinders to activate the EmSeeQ device. The device places a call and provides its location to 9-1-1- dispatchers who can then send assistance, as they do every day for thousands of wireless 911 calls per month.

“We have seen a growing interest in our system as more and more public safety organizations become aware of it as a more effective alternative to GPS and other less reliable solutions,” said EmFinders CEO Jim Nalley. “The system has already proven itself with life-saving rescues in California, and we are pleased to have the Merced County Sheriff’s Department on board to help prevent tragedies under their jurisdiction.”

The EmSeeQ product is available in two different styles: a watchband-type device with a traditional buckle, and a clasp-style that requires two hands to remove for added security.

For more information about EmFinders’ EmSeeQ emergency locator system, please visit www.emfinders.com or contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Department at (209) 385-7445 or Merced County Adult Protective Services at 209-385-3105.