There is another program that many communities have. It is typically run by the local police departments. Project Lifesaver. Originally it was started for Alzheimer's. The stats for Alzheimers are terrifying 50% of people with alzheimer's will wander and get lost. Nearly half of those if not found within 24 hours will die. The Stokes County Mountain Rescue started using radio tracking to find lost hikers. In 1999 The Chesapeake Sheriff's Office in VA developed Project Lifesaver to help locate lost citizens. SInce then the program has spread to over 300 localities in 33 states.
Project Lifesaver is a program for families of those with Alzheimer's, Autism, and other disabilities that make them a wandering risk. They use a bracelet that transmits a radio signal. Every second, 24 hours a day the person can be located. Each bracelet has a different signal so an individual can be located. The search and rescue teams associated with Project Lifesaver are trained in special needs. Most participants in the program are located in less than 30 min.
Each locality is different so you would need to contact your local police department to see if they participate. A sheriff from Fairfax Counties program was nice enough to talk with me about their program. For their county to qualify for the program:
1. You must be a resident of the county
2. the client must have a legally responsible caregiver willing to place client into the program.
3. The client and caregiver must abide by the conditions of the program.
4. You have to complete a application process.
The program is a mostly volunteer program. Most counties have set their program up as a charity and accept donations. The donations help the fund the program for residents whom may not be able to afford it otherwise.
Beyond Project Lifesaver there are things you can do as well that are very simple. Visit your local fire departments and police stations. Many now have listings of residents with special needs. Just for the staffs info. It helps them to know that hey I might want to check on this person or they may not act as I think they should if they encounter them in public.
Ancora Impartial has some great tips here. Keep your kids photo current, fingerprints, keeping track of scars and birthmarks. In the event that a loved one goes missing you may need this information. I can not stress the current photo enough. A while back a 14 year old went missing, the photo that was shown was of a 5 year old. That does not help anyone. Keep photos current. Most schools now send home a little ID card around school picture time even if you don't order photos. Take a second and slip it into your wallet. That one second could shave hours of the search. The 14 year was found and returned home safely shortly after a current photo was released hours after the initial photo. Descriptions are great but a photo sticks in peoples mind.