Care Trak keeps loved ones safe in cold weather

Program tracks people who wander or get lost
Care Trak keeps loved ones safe in cold weather

The Green County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to sign up for Care Trak, a tracking system that can help find people with memory or health issues who wander or get lost.

School Liaison Community Deputy Pam Tourdot said there are five people using the program, but she wants to see more families register.

“Our hope is that we just keep trying to reach out to someone new that we’re not reaching out to,” she said.

The program is designed for adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and children with special needs. Tourdot said there are four children and one adult using the program in Green County.

“It’s just one more safe thing that people can use,” she said. “If we have a GPS unit or our Care Trak unit on them, then it gives us a quicker response on trying to find someone because, in the cold temperatures, obviously, we have to worry about medical issues with everybody.”

People who use the program wear a device that looks like a watch and has a battery inside. The battery runs constantly and must be changed every two to three months. Tourdot said it is waterproof, so people can wear it at all times.

She said people can wear it around their wrist or leg and, if they ever disappear, the sheriff’s office can track the battery with an antenna.

“It’s good for up to a mile on the road,” Tourdot said. “So if we go to a residence and they said this is the direction, then, obviously, that is the direction that we should start going towards looking for them.”

She said the device makes a beeping noise that gets louder as they get closer to the missing person.

As coordinator for the Aging and Disability Resource Center in Green County, Amber Russell connects families with programs such as Care Trak.

“It’s just one of those tools to have in case they were to get out of the home,” she said. “It’s a scary, scary situation, especially in seasons like winter where time is of the essence in finding them.”

Tourdot said the sheriff’s deputies have practiced using the Care Trak program but haven’t had to use it to find someone who has disappeared. She said she hopes they never have to.

The program started in 2013 with a large community donation. Tourdot said each battery costs $6, but the sheriff’s office never makes families pay for the program because it’s funded through continuous donations.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program should call the Green County Sheriff’s Office at 608-328-9401. Dane County also uses Care Trak, and Rock County uses a similar program called Project Lifesaver .