Paramedics quickly located a missing Marshfield man suffering from dementia Monday because he was wearing a tracking device, public safety officials said.
The man wandered through the woods near his home at The Maples, an age-restricted housing development off Route 3A, according to Marshfield Fire Captain Shaun Robinson.
The man, whose family asked that his name not be disclosed, was wearing a LoJack device called SafetyNet, made specifically for tracking people who may wander and not be able to find their way home due to autism, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments.
Relatives called 911 shortly after 6:30 p.m., about 15 minutes after they discovered he was missing. He is 79 and has Alzheimer’s disease, according to a Fire Department press release.
Two Marshfield paramedics, Gary Richard and John Taylor, found him, unhurt, within 10 minutes of arriving at the scene.
“It’s working excellent,” Robinson said of the tracking system, which Marshfield began using in 2010. “It’s an amazing tool.”
It was the second such incident in just over a month. On May 23, Marshfield police used the device for the first time, locating another man with dementia. Police found Vincent DiNatale, who is in his 80s, nearly half a mile from his home, tangled in vegetation near the bank of the South River.
Retired Marshfield police officer Ralph Poland, who helped bring the system to Marshfield when he was still on the force, now works for LoJack, speaking to police departments about the equipment and how to use it. A hand-held receiver with an antenna picks up a signal emitted by a band which resembles a wristwatch and can be worn on the wrist or ankle.
Because the device uses a radio frequency signal, he said, it can be used in situations where other types of reception might not work.
He learned about the system after a Marshfield man went missing on a cold February night in 2010. He asked the Masons of the Daniel Webster Lodge to fund the $3,000 device, but shortly afterward, LoJack decided to make the devices free to law enforcement.
The money from the Masons went to help defray the cost of wrist bands for people who cannot afford them. Families pay a $99 enrollment fee and $30 a month for the bands, he said.
Starting Sunday, the Massachusetts State Police will begin participating in the program, allowing families to join even if their local police department does not have the equipment, Poland said.
About 28 people in Marshfield wear the bands, and the majority are children, he said.