CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - Tuesday is World Alzheimer's Day and in honor of the day of awareness, a local city unveiled some new technology that could help you and your loved ones during the greatest time of need. Many of you have heard of Project Lifesaver , which is designed to rescue those who have a tendency to wander off. That life saving system just got a major upgrade in Chesapeake.
"The current technology that we have, once we go out there to last point that we've seen them, these searches can be quite lengthy and run into hours of time whereas that new technology it'll be able to pull them right up and tell us exactly where they are," says Colonel Jim O'Sullivan of the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office.
News of the upgrade is a relief to many caregivers who watched in July as the search for a missing Virginia Beach Alzheimer's patient ended happily, but after six days.
Mike Fischetti worries what a lengthy search could do to his son, Logan, who is a Project Lifesaver client.
"He's severely autistic and he has a tendency to wander if he was left alone or had the opportunity, he would wander off," says Fischetti.
Fischetti signed Logan up for EmSeeQ, a device that looks like a watch or bracelet and is worn around a client's wrist or ankle.
"Basically what's in here is a single purpose cell phone, that when a person goes missing, we activate it and it phones 911," says Harry Smeenk of EmFinder, the copy that created EmSeeQ.
EmSeeQ works through AT&T or T-Mobile. It sends a signal to the closest cell tower, so if a client wanders off, their location can be pinpointed almost immediately after the 911 call, as opposed to now where a large search crew sets up at the location where the missing person was last scene to begin the search.
"We'll be able to send out one or two deputies to pick up the individual and we should be able to get them, relatively, within 30 to 40 minutes," says O'Sullivan.
If the cell signal hits a tower in another city, there is also a plan in place.
"If it's on the border of another city, we can actually call another jurisdiction and let them know what's going on. We can give them the description of the person and probably the phone number as well that's going to come up connected to that device just in case they happen to get the call and it doesn't hit one of our cell towers," says Ginger Bailey, Chesapeake's dispatch supervisor.
Bailey is excited about the new technology.
"I think it'll be a shorter wait time for the families. I believe that they'll have more security knowing that they can make the same phone call that they made before to notify the people, but that their loved one will be found, it's a lot more precise and a lot shorter time frame."
It's a welcome upgrade for many.
"It would have to give the caretaker a lot of relaxation and comfort knowing that if this was to happen, we can find them at the drop of a hat," says Fischetti.
Chesapeake is the first city in the nation to test the EmSeeQ device. EmSeeQ costs about $225 which meaning some clients can't afford the potentially life saving upgrade, but you can sponsor a client. For more information on becoming a sponsor, or on ordering the device, call the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office at 382 - 6159.
Police say a 19-year-old was shot Thursday evening in Newport News.
Three separate crashes on Interstate 664 occurred at the same time Thursday morning, causing headaches for motorists.
A man who was able to elude capture for more than two decades was finally found in Norfolk.