Project Life­saver makes dif­fer­ence in Ward’s Brook search

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - By Dar­rell Cole Amherst News dcole@amher­st­ Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Chris Good­ing has led train­ing ses­sions for Project Life­saver, but a re­cent rescue of a lost per­son was the first time he’s put the tech­nol­ogy to use.

Last Sun­day, when a teen with Down syn­drome went miss­ing in the Ward’s Brook area near Southamp­ton, Good­ing, a team leader with the Springhill Ground Search and Rescue, ar­rived on the scene and was quick to get a sig­nal from the bracelet the 18-year-old was wear­ing on his wrist.

“This was the first time I used Project Life­saver in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and can’t be­lieve how quickly things wrapped up,” he said. “It was maybe 20 min­utes from the time I ar­rived on the scene to mak­ing vis­ual con­tact with the client.”

Project Life­saver was first es­tab­lished in April 1999 in Vir­ginia and came to Nova Sco­tia in 2010. It uses a ra­dio di­rec­tion find­ing sys­tem to de­ter­mine the lo­ca­tion of a trans­mit­ter based on the strength of the ra­dio fre­quency it pro­duces.

It was the sec­ond search in less than 24 hours for the Springhill Ground Search and Rescue team fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful search in the Shulie area overnight Satur­day.

For Good­ing and other team mem­bers, hav­ing the Project Life­saver tech­nol­ogy

re­ally made a huge dif­fer­ence.

“I have been on some real heart­break­ing searches over the years, and this re­ally bal­ances the scales some for me,” he said. “I was pretty choked up to find the client as quickly as we did and to find him healthy, un­in­jured and ready to go home.”

Mike MacPherson, pres­i­dent of Springhill Ground Search and Rescue, said Project Life­saver helped pre­vent some

of the guess­ing game that nor­mally goes into a search for a miss­ing per­son.

“It wasn’t very long that Chris had a sig­nal and not much longer af­ter that that he had eyes on him,” MacPherson said. “In most cases we have to make an ed­u­cated guess about where the miss­ing per­son is and then be­gin search­ing. Some­times it works out, some­times it doesn’t. When you get into a sit­u­a­tion where you find some­one it’s a very re­ward­ing feel­ing, to say the least.”

MacPherson said it was his or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first search with Project Life­saver.

Project Life­saver Nova Sco­tia ad­min­is­tra­tor Gary Smith said the suc­cess­ful search in Springhill is the re­ward for lots of hard work to bring the pro­gram to the prov­ince and raise public aware­ness.

“It’s great when you’re able to cut time from hours to min­utes,” Smith said. “Chris and his group were out walk­ing half the night in the search Satur­day night and then you have this search that was wrapped up re­ally quickly be­cause of this tech­nol­ogy.”

He said searches us­ing Project Life­saver gen­er­ally take be­tween 17 and 30 min­utes.

Smith said there is a fee for the Project Life­saver de­vice, but there is sup­port to buy them from Com­mu­nity Ser­vices and from ser­vice clubs like the Lions Club. There are also re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for the care­givers, such as check­ing the de­vice every 24 hours.

He was also happy to have mem­bers of the Parrs­boro Fire De­part­ment to help him with the client. It’s one thing to talk about how ef­fec­tive Project Life­saver is, but to have an out­side agency as­sist and see for them­selves the equip­ment in ac­tion helps get the word out about the tech­nol­ogy.

“I have been on some real heart­break­ing searches over the years, and this re­ally bal­ances the scales some for me.”

Chris Good­ing

Dar­rell Cole/Amherst News

Christo­pher Good­ing of Springhill Ground Search and Rescue shows the Project Life­saver equip­ment that was used in a suc­cess­ful search for a miss­ing teen last Sun­day in Ward’s Brook.

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