Project Lifesaver distributes 11th tracking band

Keeping your loved ones safe
Eight-year-old Billy happily posed for a picture after getting his bracelet on with Houghton...
Eight-year-old Billy happily posed for a picture after getting his bracelet on with Houghton County Detective Lt. Charlie Klein (left) and Houghton County Sheriff Joshua Saaranen (right).(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 8:23 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Search and rescue practices are changing for at-risk individuals in the Copper Country.

Project Lifesaver is a tracking system that uses radiofrequency bracelets to find missing individuals. It is especially useful when searching for people with cognitive disabilities.

Houghton County Detective Lt. Charlie Klein spearheaded the project for Houghton County earlier this year.

“Back in April I saw a need in our community to protect our most vulnerable folks with a cognitive disability,” said Klein. “If it’s kids or adults with the unfortunate outcome in Ontonagon with the Cam Bessonen search.”

On Friday, an eight-year-old boy named Billy received his wristband.

The bands are waterproof and are replaced every two months by a sheriff’s department.

Houghton County Sheriff Joshua Saaranen has also been involved with the project.

“It’s an extra tool in the tool chest as far as finding somebody that’s lost,” said Saaranen. “Somebody with any type of special needs, or any at-risk youth or adults.”

“It will help with the searches. Superior Search & Rescue are trained, we’re trained,” added Saaranen.

Now, with Billy’s band – there are 11 Copper Country families with Project Lifesaver bracelets.

That makes 11 families who can now worry a little less should their loved one ever go missing.

“On the search in Ontonagon it took I think three days,” said Klein. “Over $100,000 in resources were spent to search for Cam. Where Project Lifesaver – their average response time recovery time is 30 minutes.”

All four Copper Country sheriff departments are trained to use Project Lifesaver.

The technology is also used nationally.

“There’s other places around the United States that have similar technology,” said Saaranen. “So, if a family were to travel and something were to happen – those jurisdictions could potentially have similar of the same technology to help.”

The Portage Health Foundation is covering the cost of the first 50 families to register for a bracelet.

If your at-risk loved one could benefit from this device – you can consider applying for one.

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