West Texas' best kept secret saving lives - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

West Texas' best kept secret saving lives

(Source: KWES) (Source: KWES)
ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) -

Ten percent of the population 65 and over have Alzheimer's disease and 59 percent will wander off at some point during the progression of this condition.

To help with this the Ector County Sheriff's Office offers a service that is completely free of charge to helps reduce search efforts for loved ones.

It's the best kept secret here in West Texas.

Project lifesaver has been in Ector County for 11 years, but still very few people know about it.

With a population of about 160,000, the sheriff's office only has 26 clients currently using the wrist band.

"We want everybody in the community to know about it because this could absolutely save a loved ones life," Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said.

Project lifesaver was designed for anyone who is stricken with Alzheimer's, the elderly and even the youngest in our community who have downs syndrome or autism and tend to wander off.

"Sometimes they don't know where there at or where there going," Griffis said. "The average person travels about four miles per hour and if there gone for an hour they could be miles away." 

A transmitter is attached to each wristband, from there, the sheriff's office will then find the individual with receivers.

Project lifesaver has a 100 percent success rate with an average recovery time of 30 minutes.

"From the point we leave from this office we're already trying to track that signal," Griffis said. "And then ultimately find where the source is coming from which will be on that individual's wrist or leg." 

Sheriff Griffis said it's important to call as soon as you notice a loved one missing.

When wandering patients die, it is usually because they could go no further, they were stopped by an obstacle or picked up by someone.

"Those are people that are in a family that people love and our intention is to keep them alive," Griffis said. 

If a wandered person is not found within 24 hours, their survival rate drops to 46 percent, but with project lifesaver it has reduced searches from hours and days to just minutes.

If you have questions or want the wristband for your loved one you can call the Ector County Sheriff's Office at 432-335-3060.

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