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Project Lifesaver
On February 4, 2004 Harry Nelson died after being struck by a train. He had wandered away from his care facility. As a result his family decided to invest in a program that would prevent another family from going through a similar loss. The result is the Harry Nelson Lifesaver Project. Through the generous donation of the Nelson family Burlington Police Department is the first agency in Skagit County to employ the Project Lifesaver Care Trac System.

Persons who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are prone to wander. People with Down Syndrome, Autism, Prader-Willi, or traumatic brain injury also exhibit this tendency. These conditions also affect a person's abilities for reasoning, judgment and the ability to communicate.

Traditional methods for searching rely upon the ability of the lost person to answer calls from searchers. People who suffer from the aforementioned diseases either do not have the ability to respond to searcher's calls or they choose not to respond. Search efforts become more time consuming resulting in a reduction in the chances for survival of the lost person.

Project Lifesaver is designed to provide a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens while at the same time providing their families with peace of mind. Each Project Lifesaver client receives a transmitter about the size of a wrist watch. The "bracelet" emits a twenty four hour per day radio signal on a frequency unique to the client. When a client wanders away the caregiver makes a call to 9-1-1 who dispatches an officer equipped with a monitor to locate the location of the radio signal. Other agencies that have employed Project Lifesaver have dramatically reduced the amount of time necessary to locate a wanderer. A search and rescue operation that formerly used large numbers of personnel and consumed several hours can now be accomplished in under an hour using a small team of specially- trained officers.

Project Lifesaver of Burlington gratefully recognizes the contributions of Marian Nelson and Nancy Gentry, without whose support this program could not exist in Burlington.

Donations are needed to supply bracelets and support for those persons who need the protection but are financially unable to participate. Call the Burlington Police Department at 360-755-0921 to find out how you or your organization can be a part of a sponsorship program. Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to:

For more information on Project Lifesaver go to www.projectlifesaver.org, and www.caretrak.com.