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Project Lifesaver

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The New Bern Police Department and New Bern Fire-Rescue formed a partnership with the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging (ECCAAA) in 2023 to implement Project Lifesaver, an international search and rescue program designed for at-risk individuals who are cognitively impaired and prone to wandering.  Project Lifesaver is ideal for older adults who suffer from cognitive conditions such as Autism, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Down Syndrome, and others. The program is provided through grant funding, and based on availability, there should be no cost to enrollees who meet prerequisite criteria.

Clients enrolled in Project Lifesaver are given a Personal Locating Unit (PLU) - a lightweight band which houses a small battery and a radio transmitter.  The transmitter sends an automatic tracking signal once every second. The signal can be tracked on the ground or from the air. The technology is designed to help first responders locate clients who may have wandered away from their homes and cannot find their way back, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When a loved one who is wearing a PLU is reported missing, first responders will arrive at the last known location of the individual and use a portable receiver to monitor the signal coming from the client’s radio transmitter.  The strength of the signal will help first responders determine the proximity of the client. The receiver is capable of picking up signal in a 360˚ pattern. This technology saves time and resources for first responders, increases the chances of finding the missing person, and decreases the chances of serious injury or death for those who have the propensity to wander. Project Lifesaver also provides the opportunity to transfer a client to another community that uses the program. For instance, if a family leaves home for vacation or is evacuated for a hurricane, city staff can assist in locating a participating community and transferring the wristband identification to that agency. In eastern North Carolina, there are 17 agencies that utilize Project Lifesaver within a 100-mile radius of New Bern. The closest ones are in Carteret and Onslow counties.

Project Lifesaver 1FD Projectlifesaver - Copy

New Bern Fire-Rescue and the New Bern Police Department will provide all operational support for Project Lifesaver to clients and caregivers, and ECCAAA will provide case management and intake of enrollees. If you are interested in enrolling your loved one or have additional questions about Project Lifesaver, please contact January Brown at the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging at (252)638-6185, extension 3011 or via email at

The Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging serves nine counties including Craven, Carteret, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico and Wayne. For more information about the ECCAAA, visit

For more information on Project Lifesaver, visit