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Safe Again Care Trak
The Care Trak project, operating under the Sunapee Fire Department, includes the purchase, maintainance and administration of a radio tracking system equipment and program known as Care Trak, designed to assist in locating mentally impaired individuals who wander. The New London Fire and Sunapee Police Departments will be an integral part of the joint response when a Care Trak user is reported missing. Members from both organizations will be trained in the use of the tracking equipment.

The Need: Thousands of searches are organized each year to locate Alzheimer's patients, kids with Autism, Down Syndrome, or other special needs, or individuals with traumatic brain injuries, who have strayed, wandered or bolted and run away from the protection of their family or care facility. Whether it is Alzheimer's, Autism, Down Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Soto Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or some other condition that causes someone to wander, it is every caregiver's nightmare that someday they will vanish without a trace.

Alzheimer’s: 20,000 people have Alzheimer’s in NH today, with a predicted 250% increase in that number by 2050. “Wandering” is a common, early symptom of this disease. These folks have to be found fast, if they are to be found alive. After 24 hours missing, the fatality rate is nearly 50%. Local nursing and senior services estimate 10-20 potential clients currently in the immediate area.

With nearly 4,000,000 Americans currently affected by Alzheimer's, current studies indicate 60% will wander. 73% of those who are lost or missing having “altered” cognitive levels (thinking, judgment, social skill, etc.)

Autism: One in every 150 children being born today will be autistic. Like Alzheimer’s victims, a common behavior for many people with autism is running way or wandering.

Dementia Profile: · They go until they get “stuck." · Will NOT cry out for “help” or respond to shouts (only 1% respond). · Appear to lack ability to turn around · Oriented to the past, the more severe the disease the further in the past they exist · In the urban/suburban environment, they are frequently found in structures (which includes yards) or walking along roads. Often found behind shrubbery and/or out buildings · Leaves their own residence or nursing home, often with a sighting on the road · May cross or depart from roads · Attracted to water features · May attempt to travel to former residence or favorite place · May not leave verifiable clues


Care Trak can save lives, reduce caregiver stress and save money for the town!


Program Eligibility

Those Eligible:The Care Trak client is most likely living at home with a spouse or family member caregiver and has an “altered” cognitive level. A large part of the Alzheimer’s and autistic client behavior includes wandering or “escape & hide” behavior. This is extremely difficult behavior to manage without “locking” a loved one in his home and overseeing someone with wandering behavior is a tremendous responsibility/burden to manage. The CareTrak radio signal bracelet would provide an additional safety net to the family. It would also reduce the search response time and therefore the cost to the town resources of the Fire Department and Police Department.With timely reporting by the caregiver the missing person’s radio beacon will radically speed up the length of time invested in searching as well as reduce the number of people needed to search.

How It Works:The Care Trak System uses radio tracking technology to assist in locating the wanderer. It requires that the potential wanderer to wear a 1 ounce water-proof wrist or ankle transmitter attached by a tamper-resistant band. Twice daily checks logged by the caregiver using a simple testing device verifies that the transmitter is working properly. The administering agency (SFD) makes scheduled monthly visits to replace the battery and tamperproof band on the wrist transmitter If the wearer is reported missing, their absence is reported immediately to New London dispatch and those trained to use the transmitter signal tracking antenna equipment respond to search for the missing person’s transmitter signal. NH Fish & Game would be notified by New London Dispatch immediately that a Care Trak client is missing and a local response has been activated.

Liability: Clients must sign a liability waiver to participate.




Client Cost: There is NO cost to enroll in the Sunapee Care Trak program. Clients will be fitted for a transmitter wrist bracelet (valued at $250). The bracelet is on loan must be returned when no longer needed. If the client loses the bracelet, then there will be a replacement fee of $250. There is no fee for the monthly new battery visit or for any Sunapee Care Trak search response. We are able to provide this service free because of the generosity of private donors and grant support.


 Background Information

• This is NOT a health care program. It is an emergency response system designed to increase survivability of the cognitively impaired.

• Police and Fire Department response will be activated to search for these subjects whether we have this program or not. With this system we can dramatically reduce the time & manpower invested in searching, therefore reducing the manpower costs to the Sunapee FIre Department. Equally important – this system significantly increases the chances of a successful outcome for these types of subjects.

• Only 2% of bracelet wearers ever require a search response.

• Caregivers of repeat users are given 3 times for response activation and then the bracelet will be removed unless steps are taken to eliminate the problem.

• The New London Police Department is a joint operator of the program.

• If you live in a community abutting Sunapee please contact us- we will work with your Fire & Police Departments.

• The VNA and KCOA both agree that this will provide psychological relief to caregivers and protection to cognitively impaired wanderers.

To learn more about the program contact Fire Chief Dan Ruggles at 603-496-5556 or e-mail

Town of Sunapee  23 Edgemont Road, Sunapee, NH 03782  Ph: (603) 763-2212
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