Searchers to get help tracking wanderers
The death of seven-year-old James Delorey has led to new equipment for search-and-rescue crews for tracking lost people with autism and Alzheimer's disease.
Some search crews around Nova Scotia will get radio receiving equipment and training to operate it, the province announced Tuesday.
If someone wearing a bracelet locator wanders off, a radio receiver will pick up that particular signal, ensuring a quick end to the search.
James Delorey was not wearing a bracelet when he disappeared on Dec. 5, 2009.
Veronica Fraser said she believes her son would've been found if he had one.
"It's very emotional that this technology was out there and we didn't know about it. But hopefully it will help anybody who is a wanderer," she said.
James wandered away from his home near Sydney just before a storm blew in. He was found two days later, but he died in hospital from hypothermia.
The fact that James had autism and did not speak complicated the search. Searchers had to yell key words such as "pizza," and hoped by alerting his dog Chance, the animal would lead them to the boy.
Fraser worked with Cape Breton Search and Rescue to launch its Project Lifesaver, a program that uses the tracking devices.
The Project Lifesaver Association of Nova Scotia is getting about $273,000 in federal funding for the equipment and training. Only ground search-and-rescue teams enrolled in the program are eligible.
Most of the 24 teams across the province are expected to sign on.
The funding doesn't cover the cost of the bracelets that emit the signal. Anyone who enrols in Project Lifesaver receives one of the devices after paying a $300 one-time enrolment fee. There's also a $25 monthly maintenance fee.
A spokeswoman for the Emergency Management Office says several groups are interested in helping families cover the costs.
At the moment, Project Lifesaver is only available in Annapolis and Kings counties.