NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Project Lifesaver is an international search and rescue for people who are cognitively impaired and prone to wandering. It’s now in place in New Bern.

This comes as a partnership between New Bern Fire-Rescue, the New Bern Police Department and the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging.

In the program, individuals are given a personal locating unit, a PLU. It’s a little wristband that has a radio transmitter that helps first responders determine proximity to the individual. New Bern Fire-Rescue Interim Chief Jim McConnell said this device cuts down relocation time to as quick as 30 minutes.

“Without this type of capabilities, we could be hours on end which causes us to increase our resources to get out in the public, looking for these individuals and that 30 minutes could turn into three hours, six hours, nine hours and even on the 24 plus hours,” McConnell said.

New Bern Police Chief Patrick L. Gallagher added that the program was very needed for the area.

“My mother had dementia. And if my mother wandered off, I would turn this planet upside down to find her. I can tell you that I’ve never met a firefighter or police officer that didn’t feel the same way about their loved ones.” Gallagher said.

For those interested in getting a loved one in the program, reach out to the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging.