Frequently Asked Questions

Knox County Sheriff’s Department talking about their Project Lifesaver Program

Where is the Project Lifesaver Program currently available in Manitoba?
Project Lifesaver Manitoba currently operates in the Winnipeg area. The Winnipeg Police Service Ground Search and Rescue Unit and their volunteer partners Winnipeg Search and Rescue have trained several members trained as Electronic Search Specialists. Other police agencies will be contacted in 2013 to determine if they are interested in providing the Project Lifesaver program in their jurisdictions.

How do I enroll my loved one in the program?
You should contact Project Lifesaver Manitoba to confirm that your area of the province is covered by the program and to make arrangements for a representative to enroll your loved one. Thoroughly review the contract found on the Client Info page. The representative will sign and have you sign the contract and complete the data collection sheet and collect any necessary paperwork. They will then fit your loved one with a transmitter, explain the testing procedure and how to complete the daily log form. They will explain the reporting procedure if your loved one goes missing. They will also collect enrollment and monthly fees (monthly fees may be provided in a lump sum or by monthly pre-authorized debit).

Who is the first line of contact for clients’ non-emergency needs?
Project Lifesaver Manitoba would be the first line of contact for general inquiries. Each area will work out the specific duties for each community partner as best fits their situation.

Does Project Lifesaver Manitoba accept Visa or MasterCard?
No, Project Lifesaver Manitoba is not currently equipped to accept Visa or MasterCard. We can accept post dated cheques however to reduce administrative time we prefer direct deposit.

What about the use of GPS/cell phone technology in tracking?
From Project Lifesaver International – I have been asked often, in the past 12 years, about GPS and cell phone tracking and why we have not gone to it or endorse it. My answer is simple:

GPS and cell phone tracking are great; if you know how to use it and make sure you stand in the open, under a cloudless sky. Over the years, we at PLI have observed many tests of this technology and have conducted several ourselves. Each test renders the same results: GPS and cell phone tracking are not reliable enough to place a person’s life in jeopardy by its use. Too often, it completely failed or placed the location of the person far away from their actual location. For example; we incurred many failures if the person with the GPS unit was under anything or masked the unit with their body. For instance, in a house, under an overpass, in a car, under thick trees or in some cases thick cloud cover. These are the same instances where RF (radio) tracking did locate the person. We have one documented instance where GPS was being used in a search and rescue training exercise, it failed and a search had to be launched for the person wearing the unit. We have also tested several units in large downtown areas and it either failed completely, by loss of signal or sent to us to a phantom location. One company engaged in this technology, after I challenged their results, finally placed a disclaimer on its website, stating – anything capable of blocking sunlight may block GPS signals. So, if you are asking me if I endorse or recommend GPS/cell phone tracking, my answer is; for airplanes, boats, or any situation where life is not immediately in peril and the person using it understand how it works and stands out in the open, it will probably work. If not, don’t bet your life or someone else’s on it.

– Gene Saunders, CDG, Founder, President, CEO

What guarantee is there that Project Lifesaver will locate my loved ones should they become missing?
We would like to say there is a 100% guarantee; however, there is no such thing, regardless of the technology or method utilized. It must always be remembered you are dealing with people and each situation will be different. Project Lifesaver does have the most successful record in the world. This has been accomplished through a combination of training, methods, procedures and the latest technology which is tested often in real world situations. The best protection is to have trained personnel with the latest equipment available, respond and conduct these searches. The success record of this approach speaks for itself.

Are the Search Teams required to “sign-up” clients?
With the demand on Police resources, the Winnipeg Police Service chooses not to be directly involved with the contracts between Project Lifesaver Manitoba and their clients. For this reason Project Lifesaver Manitoba was created to deal with the business side of the program and the WPS will focus on their mandated role as responders and investigators of Missing Person reports.

We will review the current process if the Project Lifesaver program expands outside Winnipeg as local resources in the geographic location of the clients and having been trained in the use of the equipment may be better suited to do client sign-up. If the police agency having jurisdiction feel that another community partner would be better equipped to handle this process, it may be delegated as long as they are trained and capable.

Who will be tasked with the monthly maintenance of changing batteries?
Project Lifesaver requires a “third party” to change the batteries and straps for our clients. We all have busy lives and this will ensure the maintenance schedule is maintained. This service is covered by the $20.00 monthly fee paid to Project Lifesaver Manitoba. What this means is that the caregiver will make arrangements to have a Project Lifesaver volunteer or Community partner to meet with them and the client at a pre-arranged date/time and location.

At the start up of Project Lifesaver we are still working on the process of developing community partners to assist with the changing of batteries and straps for our clients. Initially volunteers with Winnipeg SAR may be asked to work directly with the Project Lifesaver clients to ensure batteries and straps are changed on schedule. We are hoping that a new community partner will come forward that can adopt this role. Interested organizations must meet appropriate security needs as well as take a short training course on maintaining the bracelets.

If we expand outside of the Winnipeg area, each area will develop the community partners that work best for them.

Project Lifesaver Manitoba is searching for a community partner that can be accessed throughout Manitoba. Interested organizations are invited to contact us.

Is the Police search team required to perform administrative, finance and accounting duties?
Again, that is why we created Project Lifesaver Manitoba, so that all the documentation would be uniform across the province. We have had all our policies, procedures, forms and contracts vetted by legal counsel. The Police agencies having jurisdiction and their response partners would be responsible for purchasing their receivers, maintaining their equipment (keeping the batteries charged) and training (we recommend regular exercises), signing up clients and searching when they receive a call-out.

What is the cost of training operators and maintaining receiver equipment? Who owns and is liable for that equipment?
Project Lifesaver International has designated Randy Antonio, a member of Project Lifesaver Manitoba as the Provincial Coordinator. If additional Police agencies become involved in the program they will be required to take Electronic Search Specialist Training from the Provincial Coordinator. The only cost to the other agencies teams would be to cover travel, meals and accommodations for the trainers for the two day course (receipts for these expenses will be provided). If the other Police agencies become involved with Project Lifesaver Manitoba before March 31, 2014, the initial training and start up equipment could be covered by the NIF grant that Project Lifesaver is currently operating under.

Any equipment purchased under the NIF grant will remain the property of Project Lifesaver Manitoba unless other arrangements are made between Project Lifesaver and the Police agencies.

Will Project Lifesaver Manitoba be utilizing local Police as the first responder of reference?
The Winnipeg Police Service Ground Search and Rescue Unit has received Electronic Search Specialist (ESS) and ESS Instructor training from Project Lifesaver International. As the Police agency having jurisdiction for Missing Person investigations in Winnipeg, this is considered an extra tool to be used in addition to their normal response.

The Winnipeg Police have developed a dispatch policy that will facilitate the Project Lifesaver trained local SAR resources to be dispatched at the same time as the police resources.

What is the difference between the LSI G2 receiver PLI-3000 and the new PLI -5000 receiver?
We have done extensive testing with this equipment and are confident in it. We have decided that the PLI-5000 will provide the best balance of performance and price at this time and will be the equipment being supplied under the SAR-NIF.

How do other Police agencies or recognized Manitoba SAR resources join Project Lifesaver?
There are four steps required once you decide to join:

  • You need to send a letter of intent to Project Lifesaver International (PLI) on your letterhead.
  • You need to send a signed Operational Agreement to PLI.
  • You need to decide which equipment you want to use and obtain it from PLI.

And you need to arrange training with Project Lifesaver Manitoba (The Provincial Coordinator)

Where can we obtain funding to start?
Most agencies joining Project Lifesaver have enjoyed much success by appealing to the community, i.e., civic, fraternal and service clubs. Also, many businesses and hospitals have assisted agencies in starting in other jurisdictions. As previously noted, our current SAR-NIF grant may be used to cover some costs however this grant expires in March of 2014.

Do we have to join Project Lifesaver to get the equipment?
Project Lifesaver is a complete life protection solution. It is a pro-active “program” that encompasses many areas to enhance rescue probabilities; it is not just about the equipment. Project Lifesaver will not sell the equipment without the necessary training and support that goes with the program. We strongly discourage any attempts to use this equipment without the benefit of significant training, to do so, only encourages liability and inadequate protection.

How long does it take a search team to get started?
It takes approximately 5 weeks from the time you notify us that you wish to join Project Lifesaver. We will call you to arrange training dates. Once a training date is confirmed, it only takes two (2) days to train your search team.

What is a Provincial Coordinator?
A search team, usually the first in a province, which agrees to have certified instructors trained and will then provide training for other agencies in their province.

How do we order our equipment, monthly batteries, bands, promotional items, etc.?
Contact Project Lifesaver Manitoba with your order requests.

What Equipment is authorized to be used in the Project Lifesaver program?
All equipment utilized must be approved by Project Lifesaver®. In addition, all documents, logos, signs, procedures, and training are lawfully copyrighted and trademarked. Project Lifesaver members benefit by receiving support and superior equipment that is tested and approved. For a search team to have proven, reliable protection for its citizens, Project Lifesaver is the only choice. Any equipment used in the program must be approved by Project Lifesaver®. This means if a family acquires an “other than approved” transmitter from any commercial sources, it cannot be used in the program without written permission. The public safety agency may be liable should that transmitter fail and we will not be liable for any other equipment provided by any other source than Project Lifesaver®.

What is Project Lifesaver’s relationship with LoJack Safety Net and Marshall Electronics?
Locator Systems is a vendor – a subsidiary of LoJack Corporation. They provide us with equipment for agencies and families in the Project Lifesaver program. This is the same relationship we have with Marshall Electronics. Project Lifesaver Manitoba purchases all of it’s tracking related equipment from Project Lifesaver Manitoba.