WanderSearch Finds Missing People Faster

Why is WanderSearch useful?

When a person who is using a WanderSearch device does go missing and the family/whanau or carer calls Police on 111 any search is advantaged by being able to look for the device from a distance using the search equipment. The distance that the signal from the device can be picked up by the equipment depends on the surroundings. Signals can be picked up from 5 – 8 km away from the top of overlooking hills, on the flat ground it maybe about 1 km away. So, if the missing person has their WanderSearch device with them they can be found rapidly.

An analysis of a sample of incidents involving Police (May 2019 – Oct 2019) showed that the mean incident duration for a WanderSearch device wearer was around 1.8 hours with a maximum incident duration of 6 hours. For those people who did not have a device, the mean incident duration was 4.7 hours and maximum duration was 14 hours (information provided by NZSAR).

Older man sitting on a bench on the waterfront in Wellington, NZ people are busy walking by. He looks sad and confused, he is lost and can't remember his way home, but he isn't asking for help from passes by either. Photo NZ Police
Missing in a crowd (Photo, NZ Police)

For many people with a cognitive impairment who go missing the time taken to locate the person is critical for their safety. The longer a person is exposed to environmental hazards, including cold and wet weather, uneven surfaces causing falls and water/downing hazards the worse is their outcome. Also, if a person’s general health is fragile, and they will need to be located quickly. It is often quoted in North America that for people with dementia if found within the first 12 hours, 93% survive, which means that 7%, or one out of every 14 individuals with dementia, do not survive. Of those that have gone missing for 24 hours, only a third survive, and if missing for 72 hours, only one in five are found alive. ( https://www.kindlycare.com/wandering-dementia-symptoms/ )