Project Lifesaver

Project Lifesaver assists in providing a timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, and related conditions or disorders.

Page updated on Jun 16, 2021 at 10:43 AM

Project Lifesaver logoProject Lifesaver has a successful track record of locating and returning wandering adults and children to families and caregivers.

The program relies on proven technology and specially trained search and rescue teams. Project Lifesaver clients wear a personalized wristband that emits an invisible tracking signal. When caregivers notify the Sheriff’s Office that a loved one is missing, a search and rescue team responds to the area and starts searching with specialized tracking equipment.

Utilizing this technology, search times have been reduced from hours and days to an average of less than 30 minutes. Project Lifesaver has more than 1,400 participating agencies across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and has performed more than 3,600 searches in the last 20 years.


The safety of the residents of the City of Alexandria is our highest priority. We accept clients with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and Down syndrome. We will also consider people who have other disorders that may cause them to chronically wander and become lost.

To enter someone into the Alexandria Project Lifesaver program, the following requirements must be met:

  • The client must be a resident of the City of Alexandria (those residing in the “Alexandria” portions of Fairfax County may be eligible for the Fairfax County Project Lifesaver program through Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office).
  • The client must have a legally responsible caregiver willing to place the client in the program.
  • Clients and caregiver must abide by the conditions of the program and contract.
  • Complete the application process

Project Lifesaver Technicians


Wristband Project LifesaverProject Lifesaver’s state-of-the-art equipment is the most reliable and practical technology available for locating missing persons. The transmitter that is worn emits a silent signal every second, 24 hours a day. This signal is tracked on the ground or air over several miles. Since each transmitter has a unique frequency, the Project Lifesaver search team can quickly locate the person who has wandered away from home. This specialized equipment, combined with the Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist training, has led to a better than 99% success rate.

Project Lifesaver History 

The 43rd Virginia Search and Rescue officially formed Project Lifesaver. In April 1999, the first personal locator unit was put in place in Chesapeake, Virginia. In spring of 2008, the Alexandria Project Lifesaver Program began with the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department, in cooperation with the Kelley Cares Foundation. The first class for electronic search specialists included eight deputies, six police officers, and a member of the Therapeutic Recreation Center. Currently, the program is administered by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, and we continue to conduct additional training, in order to provide the most effective search and rescue program in the City of Alexandria.


For more information, call the Sheriff's Office Project Lifesaver contact at 703.746.5151 or download a brochure.