Plan ahead to help rescue personnel

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear Editor,

At K9 Specialty Services of Alabama, we need your help to save lives. We have operated in this area for about 10 years now and have gone on many occasions in search of citizens afflicted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We are trained in searching for persons affected by this, and especially understand the seriousness when a family member with this disease walks off from home or a family gathering. So here’s where you can help.

When a family member with these diseases walks off, the family automatically calls 911, as they should. But what many people don’t understand is that what we as K9 search teams need to do our jobs.

If every family with a loved one affected by these would take a few minutes and put together a “search kit” it would be invaluable to law enforcement and search teams before they show up at your door to help find this lost family member. This time is not a good time to try to find a shirt or sock worn by a family member — do it before it is needed.

Put together something very simple. Take a T-shirt that the affected family member has worn, still dirty before it has been washed and put this in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. This is necessary for any tracking dogs that might be used.

Take a few pictures of the person and their shoes, including the tread pattern. This is used to check if a person has walked down a path. List their medications, list any experience they may have, such as hunting, trail walking familiarity with the area and so on. List a short medical history.

These few items may seem trivial, but when your family member is missing, it is not a good time to try to gather these things up

Always remember this: It is easier to cancel someone en route than to wait too long to call for help. All of the searches for missing persons are time sensitive. The quicker we can get there the better.

Les Brown