SAFER WALKING / WANDER SEARCH
The Safer Walking Partnership Framework has been developed
with regard to people who wander with potentially unsafe results. Wandering in this context applies to people who have cognitive impairment and are at risk of not being able to safely return home once they set out.
Wanderer incidents as a percentage of CAT 1 land incidents is steady at around 23% each year over the past 7 years (2010/11 to 2017/18) (NZSAR Statistic). These incidents are therefore significant and with the increase of people with dementia and autism in the population there is an increased focus on this area.
The framework has four parts to it:
Reduction: Individuals, their family/whanau and support people try to ensure that the risk of wandering is managed while maintaining healthy walking activities and access to community
Readiness: In the event that the person does go missing, family/whanau and support people know what to do and the response agencies are prepared
Response: The missing person is located safe in a timely manner and returned the most appropriate place
Recovery: Reflect on wandering events and share learnings so the programme can continuously improve
The National Safer Walking Coordinator works for LandSAR and liaises and supports LandSAR groups and other stakeholders with the implementation of the Safer Walking Partnership Framework, and ongoing identification and assessment of new technologies to reduce the risk of wandering for vulnerable people.
Contact Clare on Clare.Teague@landsar.org.nz or 027 282 2510
One of the systems that fit into the framework is known as WanderSearch – this is made up of a radio frequency tracking device that people who are at risk of wandering wear and tracking equipment that Police Search and Rescue and volunteer Search and Rescue groups throughout New Zealand use to assist them locate the missing person in the speediest manner possible.
LandSAR works in partnership with the WanderSearch NZ Charitable Trust to provide guidance, support and training to groups throughout New Zealand managing the WanderSearch tracking system.
We are constantly on the look out for new and better ways to support safer walking, NZSAR has funded a research project to investigate alternatives to the existing WanderSearch system currently used through out New Zealand. The first phase of the project was a literature review of any better and different technologies that are available and possibility in use overseas. This report can be found on the following link. The report indicates that while alternatives are expected to be available in the next few years there is currently nothing as robust and suitable for use than what is being produced by WandaTrak and Bart Dinger Electronics.
To find out more about the WanderSearch tracking system and how it is managed in your area and to request a tracking device go to the WanderSearch site.