February 11, 2011
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Upgrades Search and Rescue Technology to Improve Safety for Impaired Persons
Frisco, TX —To help improve the safety and security of residents, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is deploying a new technology designed to upgrade its search and rescue system for locating wandering and lost individuals. Through the generous support of the CCSO Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association, the sheriff’s office will provide a limited number of EmFinders’ EmSeeQ wearable locator systems that use 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 911 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.
Citrus County is the first sheriff’s office in Florida to deploy the EmSeeQ system. The first units will be available to those most at risk and who are suffering from a cognitive disorder. The agency hopes to expand use of the system in the near future. Individual families are responsible for registering the device and paying the monthly $25 fee for location services.
“Missing and endangered individuals who wander is a serious issue not only for the people themselves and their caregivers, but for this agency, too,” said Sheriff Jeff Dawsy. “Without a quick recovery, the person can die from exposure or other hazards encountered along the way. After careful research and numerous tests of the EmSeeQ system, we are confident that this system will help to recover these individuals more quickly, which will not only save lives, but a considerable amount of money on search and rescue efforts as well.”
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 911 dispatchers who can then send assistance, as they do every day for thousands of wireless 911 calls per month.
“We’ve looked at several other devices on the market, like GPS and radio frequency systems, but EmSeeQ is best-suited for our unique situations,” Dawsy said. “There’s no interference from clouds or tree cover, and if the missing or endangered person were to get into a vehicle, he or she can also be tracked while moving.”
Because tough economic times might make it difficult for individuals who need the devices the most to cover the expense, Dawsy reached out to the Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association, the Citrus County Senior Foundation and several other private donors to purchase the first 10 units. These will be loaned out by the Sheriff’s Office to residents in need. The caregiver or family must simply sign up for a one-year contract through EmFinders, which costs approximately $300 (monthly payments are an option). When there is no longer a need for the device, caregivers return it to the Sheriff’s Office to be reissued to the next person in need.
The EmSeeQ product is available in two different styles: a watchband-type device with a traditional buckle, plus a clasp-style that requires two hands to remove for added security.
“The Sheriff’s Office is truly excited about this community partnership and the donation of the units,” Dawsy said. “It gives those in our community a helping hand in getting a locator device without having to bear the additional cost beyond the yearly fee.”
For more information about EmFinders’ EmSeeQ emergency locator system, please visit www.emfinders.com or contact Sgt. Chris Evan at the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, (352) 527-3701. Or visit the agency’s website at www.sheriffcitrus.org.