Wirt CERT completes missing person training

ELIZABETH – Thirteen members of the Wirt County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) recently completed training and certification in the Project Lifesaver program to assist law enforcement during missing person searches.

Project Lifesaver is a public safety program that assists families and caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, traumatic brain injuries and other cognitive disabilities who might need assistance being found if they become lost.

Wirt County CERT members who received the training on June 29 in Elizabeth included Bruce and Pam Wendelken, Ken Pettry, Cindy Wyer, Tim and Misty Young, Shawna Nester, Angie McCue, Tammy and Kia Sleesman, Bo and Ethan Wriston and Brian Wiacek.

Participants of Project Lifesaver wear a specially designed radio transmitter. If a participant wanders or becomes missing, they can be tracked with specialized radio receivers maintained by the Wirt County Sheriff’s Department.

Started 13 years ago, Project Lifesaver has more than 1,200 participating agencies throughout 47 states in the U.S., Canada and Australia, and has performed 2,699 searches with no serious injuries or fatalities reported. Project Lifesaver provides equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement, public safety organizations and community groups throughout the country and nation.

Project Lifesaver is available to residents of Wirt County at a cost of $10 a month, which pays for the required monthly battery replacement on the radio transmitter.

The trainees participated in an 18-hour instructional course over two days that included active searches utilizing Project Lifesaver transmitters and receivers. Trainees had to pass a final written examination, and a time-trial practical exam requiring each to find three different transmitters with the receivers in a strict time limit.

Graduates are now part of a statewide network of trained volunteers available for searches both in Wirt County, and throughout the region.

For further information on the Project Lifesaver program or Wirt County CERT, contact Wirt County Office of Emergency Services Director Bo Wriston at 304-629-3735 or via email at wirtcooes@gmail.com.