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Fountaintown supporting Project Lifesaver with chili dinner

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

The Fountaintown Community Volunteer Fire Department is looking to expand a program that helps first responders rescue people who are at-risk to wander away through a chili dinner this weekend.

The department is asking for donations to raise money for Project Lifesaver, a free program to volunteers who have a tendency to wander from safe places, volunteer firefighter Dan Hart said.

The dinner is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the department and includes dessert. The evening will provide residents a chance to learn more about how the program, which started in 1999, can help the community and local schools.

The money raised Saturday will go toward buying the necessary equipment such as transmitters and other costs associated with the program.

While the department already has signed up for the program because Shelby County decided to join this year, Fountaintown is hoping to expand its own program to provide the service to Hancock County residents, which it also serves, according to Hart.

The program uses bracelets that emit radio frequencies worn by volunteering participants. The frequencies are picked up by a receiver located at the fire department that pinpoints where that person might be, Hart said.

“A missing person, within 24 hours can be in real bad shape,” he said. “Project Lifesaver helps the people that don’t understand what they’re doing. And it gives us an opportunity to find them faster than normal.”

The department has already started the process identifying potential participants, he said.

When the department became members of the program, it was given two transmitters and receivers. Each band comes with a price tag of $350 apiece so Saturday’s dinner won’t cover the cost of every bracelet needed, but it’s a start. The department will have additional fundraisers to cover additional participants.

Marion County has had hundreds of successful rescues as a result of the program.

“I’m just glad it’s coming to us,” he said.