NEWS & UPDATES

WHY PEOPLE WANDER UNEXPECTEDLY 

Learn the top 5 reasons here:

  

 WHY PEOPLE WANDER UNEXPECTEDLY 

Dementia is a strenuous concept to grasp... Those whom are affected tend to experience dramatic changes that intervene on their day to day life.  As the illness progresses, people READ....

 

 

 

 

SAFETRACKS TO REDUCE SIZE OF ITS TRACKING DEVICE

Originally published in the Red Deer Advocate

 

 Red Deer company SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. is working on a sleeker design for its award-winning tracking device  that’s helping to keep people safe.

 

 In November, SafeTracks received the Societal Impact Award at the annual Alberta Science and Technology Leadership  Awards for its watch monitoring device TRiLOC that allows people with cognitive disorders, like dementia, to be  tracked at all times via GPS technology. READ....

PARTICIPATE AND SUPPORT IN AUTISM RESEARCH BY COMPLETING THIS QUICK SURVEY               

Autism prevention awareness 

 

  Autism Awareness

 

SafeTracks GPS has been in the Personal Monitoring industry for just over nine years. Today's society lives in a somewhat reactive mindset when it comes to autistic children wandering. SafeTracks understands that children who live with... READ MORE

 

 

HOW FAMILIAR ENVIRONMENTS INCREASE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

Alzheimer’s increasing each year exponentially

 

Positive Living for SeniorsWith the rates of Alzheimer’s increasing each year exponentially, comfort is a key component when your loved one is living with dementia. Currently, the amount of people with Alzheimer’s, as alzheimers.net explains, Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International). That number is estimated...READ MORE

 

 

 

 

SAFETRACKS GPS CANADA INC. JOINS THE BLUE CROSS BLUE ADVANTAGE® PROGRAM

Ensuring loved ones security for a reasonable price.

 

GPS COMPANY TEAMS UP WITH BLUE CROSS

 

November 22,2016

Red Deer, Alberta - SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc., manufacturers of the award winning TRiLOC™ GPS Locator and North America’s  leader in personal monitoring is very pleased to announce today that it has joined the national Blue Cross Blue Advantage® Savings program. The Blue Advantage® program allows... READ MORE

 

 

EODAF 2016 RED DEER, AB 

 

SafeTracks attended the Early Onset Dementia Alberta Foundation’s (EODAF) conference in Red Deer, AB on November 18th and 19th, 2016.

 

 

 

Presenters came from all over the world to discuss the innovative ways that individuals in Alberta, who are living with Early Onset Dementia, can participate in activities that can enhance their lives....READ MORE

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: SAFETRACKS GPS NAMED WINNER OF SOCIETAL IMPACT AWARD AT THE 27TH ANNUAL ASTECH AWARDS

Edmonton, AB- (November 1, 2016) SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. was named the Winner of the Societal Impact Award at the Annual Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Awards ceremony. The ASTech Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded through an industry initiative in 1989 to showcase the substantial achievements in Science & Technology in Alberta and to promote the importance of these activities to social and ....READ MORE

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE:DEMENTIA & WANDERING: CANADIAN COMPANY LAUNCHES LEASING PROGRAM FOR GPS PERSONAL LOCATION DEVICE

SafeTracks provides an affordable alternative to low-income seniors

 

RED DEER, AB, October 19, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ -- SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. (SafeTracks) announces the launch of their TRiLOC(TM) Leasing Program. Caregivers and Family Members can now lease the TRiLOC GPS Personal Locator watch for less than $2.50/day, providing an affordable alternative to low income seniors. The TRiLOC GPS watch is designed for people...READ MORE

 

 

PROVINCIAL SENIORS BENEFIT INFORMATION

Alberta Seniors Program- Financial Assistance for Personal Monitoring Device

 

The Alberta Seniors Benefit can substantially reduce the monthly cost from $39.95 down to only $9.95/ month.   SafeTracks wants to reassure you that our products are not only reliable but we provide an affordable alternative to Seniors who lack Independence. The Special Needs Assistance for the senior's program is available to help seniors with the cost of...READ MORE

 

 

INTRODUCING THE TRILOCTM LEASING PROGRAM

Do you worry that the person you care for will unexpectedly wander?

 

For less than $2.50/ day you can now lease the most advanced GPS Personal Location Device available. The TRiLOC™, wrist-worn watch, is ideal for people living with Dementia and other Cognitive Disorders, maintaining their Independence and Security.... READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

SafeTracks GPS Attended the ACCA IQ 2016 in Edmonton: Today's Reality, Tomorrow's Vision!

 

SafeTracks President and CEO Vince Morelli, along with our Sales & Marketing Director Lorinda Porter, attending the ACCA IQ 2016 on September 14-15. Vince Morelli spoke to a group of Healthcare Professionals about the benefits of the SafeTracks GPS TRILOCTM wrist-worn watch, being used by Caregivers for people living with Dementia and other Cognitive Disabilities.... READ MORE

 

 

 

TEC Edmonton Health Accelerator Summit

  

SafeTracks GPS President and CEO Vince Morelli was one of 9 Alberta companies invited to Banff to present a 90-second pitch to investors, biotech, universities, and the business communities.
The summit focused was on Health and Wellness start-ups throughout Alberta. The presenter spoke about the latest healthcare trends and upcoming ideas for the industry. The event included a panel discussion with industry leaders from the health sector and explored the strategies behind building a solid, innovative healthcare ecosystem...
READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Alzheimers Month 2016 

 

September was a busy month for SafeTracks GPS.  With a whole month of running World Alzheimer’s Month #WAM2016 #RememberMe and World Alzheimer’s Day (Sept. 21), the international campaign to raise awareness for the impact of Dementia, which will affect more and more people each year without a cure. SafeTracks’ daily Social Media posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Pinterest allowed SafeTracks to join the rally to increase awareness around the globe. READ MORE.... 

 

 

 

 

Alzheimer's: Understand wandering and how to address it

 

Alzheimer's causes disorientation, which can lead to wandering. Here's how to curb or prevent wandering, as well as ensure a safe return if your loved one is lost.

By Mayo Clinic Staff July 28, 2015

 

Alzheimer's Caregiving

Subscribe to our Alzheimer's Caregiving e-newsletter to stay up to date on Alzheimer's topics.

 

Wandering or getting lost is common among people with dementia. This behavior can happen at any stage of Alzheimer's. If your loved one has Alzheimer's, he or she is at risk of getting lost — even if he or she has never wandered in the past.

 

Understand wandering

There are many reasons why a person who has Alzheimer's might wander, including

 

  • Stress or fear. Your loved one might wander as a reaction to an unfamiliar or overstimulating environment, a loud noise or a situation he or she doesn't understand.
  • Searching. He or she might get lost while searching for someone or something.
  • Boredom. He or she might be looking for something to do.
  • Basic needs. He or she might be looking for a bathroom or food, or want to go outdoors.
  • Following past routines. He or she might try to go to work, do chores or buy groceries.

 

 

Prevent wandering

 Wandering is not necessarily harmful if it occurs in a safe and controlled environment. However, wandering can pose safety issues.

 

To prevent unsafe wandering identify why the wandering might be happening. For example, if your loved one tends to wander at the same time every day or when he or she is bored, plan meaningful activities to keep him or her better engaged. If your loved one is searching for a spouse or child, post a sign stating that the person in question will be visiting soon to provide reassurance and reduce wandering.

 

We at SafeTracks believe that wandering is harmful and very dangerous. Please consider being proactive rather than reactive and equip your loved onces an electronic layer of personal safety and security using GPS monitoring. We are here to help.

 

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GPS technology used to keep tabs on dementia patients

 

Published March 27,2015

 

 

Edmonton

 

AHS using ankle bracelet technology to track dementia patients

 

Company that makes GPS ankle bracelets helping families track loved ones with dementia

 

A Red Deer company whose products help enforce probation orders for convicted criminals is now part of a study to help families of dementia patients.

 

SafeTracks GPS, which manufactures ankle bracelets, created tracking devices small enough to hide in shoes and watches to specifically monitor people with cognitive disorders.

 

In April 2014, Alberta Health Services gave the devices to about 50 families to study the potential benefits for seniors with dementia.

 

“They feel like it’s a real relief to the stress and worry that they have about dementia,“ said Alberta Health Services project leader Tracy Ruptash.

 

 

The SafeTracks GPS technology allows caregivers to watch the movements of their loved ones in real time on their smartphones or computers. (CBC)

 

​She said several families have tracked down missing loved-ones using the devices since the study began.

 

Ruptash said the locating device preserves the independence of people with dementia with the potential to limit the number of missing persons calls to police.

 

Wandering can be very dangerous for people with dementia, saidRuptash. The devices alert caregivers when their loved one leaves a designated zone, so they can find  them quickly.

 

“We send an email and a text message almost instantaneously saying that someone has left the safe area and they might be in danger,” said Bob Aloisio, SafeTracks’ vice president.

 

The person’s movements can also be tracked on the caregiver’ssmartphone.

 

“We can literally drive right up beside the individual and make sure they’re safe and safely get them home,” Aloisio said.

 

Aloisio said the more the company learns about the needs of dementia patients, the more they will be able to tailor their products.

 

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GPS technology used to keep tabs on dementia patients

Published March 26,2015

 

By Harley Richards - Red Deer Advocate

The profile of a Red Deer technology company is being enhanced by a study into the use electronic devices to monitor people with dementia and other cognitive impairments.

 

SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. supplied the GPS (global positioning system) equipment for the Locator Device Project, a trial being headed by Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta. It involves 40 participants in Calgary and Grande Prairie who have been equipped with GPS tracking devices.

 

Some are wearing a cellphone-like unit called an ST200 PRIME; others have a TRiLOC GPS Locator watch, and the rest have electronic GPS SmartSoles in their shoes — all provided by SafeTracks. If they wander out of a designated area, their caregivers are alerted by email and text.

 

All three units will indicate the precise location of their wearers, and the ST200 PRIME and TRiLOC GPS Locator allow for two-way verbal communication.

 

Bob Aloisio, SafeTracks co-founder and vice-president, added that the T200 PRIME and TRiLOC GPS Locator also enable their users to summon help — similar to the popular Lifeline medical alert system that many seniors use in their homes.

 

“A senior can essentially take that same proven technology anywhere,” said Aloisio.

 

“Instead of being 400 feet from the house and it not working, now they can go into Walmart or the Legion, hit the button and get the same type of service that they were getting before.”

 

Tracy Raadik-Ruptash, the project lead with Alberta Health Services, said the trial was undertaken to help people with cognitive impairments remain at home, and make it easier for their caregivers to monitor them.

 

“We have a growing number of people in the community who are dealing with dementia because of the aging population, so it’s a pressing issue for people who want to stay at home as long as possible and for family who want to try to support their loved ones and their wishes to be safe and independent in the community for as long as possible.”

 

Information provided by Alberta Health Services indicated that more than 40,000 Albertans are affected by dementia, and about three out of every five seniors with dementia who live in the community wander. The number of Alberta seniors with dementia is expected to exceed 100,000 by 2038.

 

Raadik-Ruptash said the study, which began nearly a year ago, also involves her department’s Home Care Program, Emergency Medical Services, Alzheimers organizations in Alberta and police services, among others. Early feedback has been positive, she said, with caregivers saying the devices give them some peace of mind.

 

“There’s definitely that stress release that they feel from the use of this technology.”

 

It’s too soon to say how Alberta Health Services might respond to the study, said Raadik-Ruptash.

 

“We’ll consider the results and see if there’s a role for this technology in the provision of health care services,” she said, adding that Alberta Health Services wants to educate the public about the opportunities that exist with GPS monitoring.

 

The technology is catching on, said Aloisio.

 

“We’ve got clients clear across Canada. I would say about 60 per cent of our business is specifically within Alberta, and then it’s spread out across Canada.”

 

The Alberta study has helped fuel interest.

 

“We’re starting to employ devices because of everything we’re doing with Alberta Health Services.”

 

SafeTracks initially focused on GPS-equipped ankle bracelets and other tracking devices worn by offenders under court order. About 3 1/2 years ago, it expanded into personal tracking, including devices to protect those in high-risk professions or situations

 

Monitoring of people with conditions like dementia, or even autism, was a natural progression, said Aloisio.

 

Information about SafeTracks can be found online at www.safetracksgps.ca.

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GPS SmartSoles coming to Canada!!

 

 

GPS technology pilot for dementia patients

Published June 11, 2014

 

The Grande Prairie Herald Tribune

 

Author: Tom Bateman

 

Some Grande Prairie seniors are getting outfitted with cutting-edge technology in an effort to keep them out of harm’s way. Grande Prairie is one of two areas of focus forAlberta Health Service’s ‘Locater Device Project,’ which employs the Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the movements of people affected by dementia.

 

The six-month pilot is a collaboration between AHS, the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Alberta Innovates and Advanced Education and several stakeholders including the EMS, police forces and the Alzheimer’s Society. Researchers are currently equipping seniors in Calgary and Grande Prairie with GPS technology embedded into shoes, watches and a device similar to a cellphone. This study was triggered by a similar project in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 

Although GPS use is widespread, Ruptash said the technology only became an option for AHS recently.

 

“Even a couple years ago we tried to trial GPS technology in a former project and it wasn’t available.”

 

The devices transmit information such as location (as specific as GPS co-ordinates), speed and direction of travel via emails, text messages and to web-based platforms. Users can also set up ‘geofences’ online; once a person using the device leaves a pre-determined area the device will send out warning notifications. Geofencing, Ruptash said, is proving useful both to ensure people are staying in safe areas like homes and away from dangerous areas like roads and bodies of water.

 

Irina Golyk agrees. Her 82-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia and doesn’t speak English, is part of the project. Golyk found out about the program from her Home Care manager.

 

“It would be better for her to live in home-care but she doesn’t understand anything and it’s kind of tradition for us to live with our parents.”

 

Golyk said her mother doesn’t really understand the technology, but she knows what buttons to press and when. “She understands some things, but we have only two choices; have this device or keep everything locked from the outside,” she said.

 

The cost once the project is over is negotiable, considering the peace of mind it provides, she continued.

 

Ruptash said that the monitoring systems being studied will cost consumers about $200-$400 to purchase, and then would total about $45 monthly to maintain. AHS doesn’t have plans to subsidize the products.

 

“The source of the funding that is covering this project is to look at innovative technologies to support community-based seniors,” Ruptash said.

 

The equipment is sold by an Albertan company, Safe Tracks GPS Canada Inc. Based in Red Deer, the firm has been in the electronic monitoring industry for five years. They also provide ‘judicial monitoring equipment,’ in the form of ankle and wrist bracelets.

 

Security of the information being transmitted has also been researched. “Everything is absolutely encrypted and stored in encrypted form under password connection and is secure within an Alberta-based web platform,” said Ruptash.

 

Ruptash said the project is still looking for three participants from the Swan City.

 

“When we think about enrolment criteria for this project, we’re looking to support clients with cognitive impairment who are active in the community and still want to maintain their safety and independence in their own home.”

 

http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/2014/06/11/gps-technology-pilot-for-dementia-patients

 


 

'Precious' protection - AHS to launch project that will outfit at-risk patients with GPS tracking

Published June 10, 2014

 

The Calgary Sun

Author: Michael Platt

 

Three hundred missing persons investigations a year, all linked to Calgary hospitals and health facilities.

 

For city police, it’s a massive investment in terms of manpower and resources to find people who are often confused, scared and unable to remember where they are, or even where they belong.

 

Sometimes the search can be desperate: A senior, suffering dementia, who wanders outside in the bitter cold without a coat or winter clothing needs to be found immediately, but when Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments cloud the mind, a missing person’s fate is often a matter of luck and the goodwill of strangers.

 

In Calgary, GPS may soon reduce that search to a matter of minutes, no luck involved.

 

“Any technology we can add to the tool box is a valuable addition,” said Sgt. John Hebert, head the Calgary Police Service’s Missing Persons Team.

 

It’s a pilot project being launched by Alberta Health Services, following success in Europe, and jurisdictions closer to home, including some cities in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

 

What once seemed like space-age technology is now common, and the same satellite navigation systems are used for everything from locating lost smart phones, to giving directions to the nearest pizza joint.

 

In the case of dementia patients, the Global Positioning System device is usually worn like a watch or bracelet — and from there, it’s a simple matter of switching on a computer and looking on a map to see where the GPS device (and presumably the patient) is currently located.

 

In one case, police in Halifax reportedly took just 11 minutes to track down an Alzheimer’s patient who’d gone missing two hours earlier, after his caregivers finally called for help.

 

The savings in police resources and reduced emotional anguish for family alone should make the use of GPS a slam dunk in the health-care system — but the idea of tagging seniors and other patients is not without its critics.

 

Everywhere the devices have been tried — similar tracking technology has been used on children with autism — there have been critics who question whether it’s an infringement on personal freedom, and the right not to be tracked by authority.

 

But so far, the added safety for such patients has outweighed concerns over loss of liberty.

 

Caroline Connolly cares for her 84-year-old mom at home — and so far, she’s had no problems with Doris wandering away, despite dementia and significant short-term memory loss.

 

But Connolly says she wouldn’t hesitate to provide her mom with GPS, if she ever felt there was a danger of the senior getting lost.

 

“We put them on our phones, and I have a GPS unit in my car, so in case it gets stolen, they can track it down,” said Connolly.

 

“If we have GPS for things like that, why wouldn’t we want it to protect the people most precious to us? We could prevent all sorts of tragedies.”

 

On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services has scheduled a press conference to unveil the GPS project, which includes researchers with AHS and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

 

“Currently, more than 40,000 Albertans are living with a form of dementia, and about three out of every five seniors with dementia living in the community experience wandering, which poses significant safety risks and can be difficult to manage,” reads the press release.

 

“A research trial involving seniors with dementia in Calgary and Grande Prairie aims to mitigate these risks.”

 

With 747,000 Canadians currently suffering from dementia, a number expected to double to 1.4 million by 2031, caring for people with cognitive impairment is going to be a major challenge in the next few decades.

 

Jill Petrovic, spokeswoman for the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, says keeping such patients safe is paramount — and GPS, if used prudently, appears to be a useful tool.

 

“Our primary concern is always the well being of people impacted by dementia in our community, and that includes safety issues,” said Petrovic.

 

“If we can apply strategies that have been successful in other countries, for the benefit of local families, that’s encouraging.

 

“And although it’s a widely-debated issue, it really comes down to making some tough personal choices. Ideally, the family would have these discussions earlier on, as part of their future planning.”

 

http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/06/10/precious-protection--ahs-to-launch-project-that-will-outfit-at-risk-patients-with-gps-tracking

 


 

SOS program giving women peace of mind - Red Deer pilot program provides GPS locator for abused women

Published October 28, 2012

The Calgary Sun
Author: Dave Dormer

 

While it won't prevent an attack, a pilot program in Red Deer is helping women trying to escape abusive relationships feel safer, said the head of that city's emergency shelter.

 

Called SafeTracks, the program sees women deemed at highest risk of being attacked by an ex-partner carry a small device that can connect them with a 911 dispatcher while their location is tracked by GPS.

 

"It's the size of a small cellphone," said Ian Wheeliker, Executive Director of the Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter.

 

"It gives 911 their exact longitude and latitude ... so the police knows exactly where to respond to.

 

"This is not going to save women's lives, but it's another tool in the safety plan that can aid police."

 

The device has what's called an SOS button, said Wheeliker, that connects them with a 24-hour monitoring center if they are attacked or feel threatened.

 

"The police service that would be quickest to respond is contacted and given her location," said Wheeliker, adding critical information is also forwarded.

 

"If there's any emergency protection orders in place, the ages and names of any children and the schools they might attend ... along with any outstanding charges (of potential suspects)."

 

Nine women in Red Deer have the device currently, said Wheeliker, and they've been activated six times since the program was started in 2010.

 

The biggest thing it offers, said Wheeliker, is increased peace of mind.

 

"The women who are carrying it say they feel safer and more secure," he said, adding there haven't been any tragedies.

Paid for by the Alberta Victims of Crime Fund, the program is slated to run until July 2013.

 

Several shelters across Alberta are monitoring the program, including the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter, with the aim of implementing it.

 


 

City cops 'winning battle' against sex offenders
Enhancing public safety through corrections and parole reform for repeat offenders
Published Dec 10, 2011

 

Edmonton Sun
Author: Pamela Roth


Canadians have rightly been gripped by the plight of the Hebert family of Sparwood, B.C., whose three-year old son was abducted, with Randall Hopley, a convicted sex offender and career criminal, the prime suspect. While Kienan Hebert has thankfully been returned home safely, this incident, along with other high-profile crimes committed by repeat offenders, illustrate clear deficiencies in the justice system that require immediate attention.

 

Dealing effectively with crime is an inherently complex issue in part because of the number of independent institutions within the justice system, such as the police, prosecution, courts, corrections and parole boards, all of which need to co-ordinate their efforts to support public safety.

 

These institutions already treat dissimilar individuals, such as young offenders, in different ways. For example, there is a concerted effort to use pro-active steps to try to prevent young people from getting involved in crime, and even when they do, we sensibly use more lenient measures to provide alternatives and life structure so that young people make better choices and stop committing crime. If early intervention and youth-specific strategies can get young offenders back on the path to productive, law-abiding lives, without burdening the taxpayer with the financial and social costs of incarcerating them, all Canadians will be better for it.

 

But one of the grim realities confronting our justice system is that a disproportionately large volume of crime is committed by a disproportionately small number of repeat offenders. The justice system has tools to deal with these sorts of individuals, including long-term imprisonment where, at best, correctional programming can build positive behavioral changes and, at worst, the simple expedient of incarceration eliminates their criminal potential for that time in custody. The length of imprisonment for most crimes is determined by a sliding scale that considers both the severity of the crime and the criminal's unique characteristics, including criminal history.

 


 

Firm nabs share of electronic monitoring market
Published July 11, 2011 6:40 PM

 

Red Deer Advocate
Author: Harley Richards

 
SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. of Red Deer is pictured with a GPS ankle bracelet that the company is supplying to law enforcement agencies across Canada. 

 

A convicted pedophile on conditional release approaches a youngster at a playground. But before he can reach the child, a device strapped to his ankle emits an ear-piercing alarm, followed by the stern voice of a police officer.

 

The man flees, but is located and apprehended within minutes.

 

Thanks to electronic GPS monitoring, such preventive policing is not only possible but is currently used by law enforcement agencies, including in Alberta. And helping supply the technology is a Red Deer company called SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc.

 

SafeTracks provides GPS-equipped ankle bracelets that can be worn by people like high-risk offenders and perpetrators of domestic violence. Weighing just 16 ounces, the units can be set to vibrate if they enter a pre-established restricted area, and/or emit a 95-decibel alarm. They also contain a cellphone, allowing for two-way communication between authorities and the person being monitored.

 

In 2002, Jablonski chaired the Government MLA Review of Correctional Services. Implementing an electronic monitoring pilot was second on the committee's list of 33 recommendations. The University of Calgary will be evaluating the Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary projects. Wheeliker said GPS devices are another law enforcement tool. "We don't want to give the community or the public the impression that this is the be-all and end-all because it isn't. It's another component of a comprehensive, coordinated response to domestic violence and it's a component of victim safety planning," said Wheeliker.

 

They can be worn in a shower, and alert monitoring officials if their battery is not being recharged or their reinforced cuff is being tampered with.

 

"I took four-foot bolt cutters and tried to cut this off, and I couldn't," said SafeTracks President and founder Vince Morelli.

 

The origins of SafeTracks date back several years, when Morelli began pondering ways to protect victims of domestic violence. He teamed up with Bob Aloisio, the company's Director of Business Development, who had an extensive background in global positioning systems, telematics and automated vehicle location technologies.

 

The impetus for SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. was a desire to help victims of domestic violence.

 

But while developing their system for tracking and monitoring the perpetrators of such acts, it occurred to Vince Morelli and Bob Aloisio — SafeTracks' President and Director of Business Development respectively — that their technology could protect these and other vulnerable people.

 

The result is a personal electronic monitoring division, through which victims of violence and others can carry small GPS devices.

 

The units have an SOS button with which to summon help. They also provide two-way voice communication, can call designated phone numbers with the push of a button, and allow for the wearer's location, direction and speed of travel, and movement history to be determined.

 

"It's like an OnStar in the palm of your hand," said Morelli.

 

In addition to giving peace of mind to past and potential victims of violence, the units could help safeguard people in potentially hazardous occupations, he added. Social workers, real estate agents, probation officers, taxi drivers, security guards and convenience store clerk are among the possibilities.

 

Additionally, said Morelli, Persons with Disabilities — such as those with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of Dementia — could be monitored to ensure they don't leave a predetermined zone. SafeTracks has been testing its personal electronic monitoring equipment in a variety of situations and settings, said Morelli. In one case, it helped prevent a Central Alberta youth with severe mental health and substance abuse issues from putting himself in danger.

 

Working with his mother and mental health officials, SafeTracks fit the teen with one of its GPS ankle bracelets. If he left his family's rural home, the unit vibrated and the monitoring centre notified his mother.

 

The woman, who did not want herself of her son identified in this story, said he quickly learned to return to his yard when the unit prompted him. On one occasion, the monitoring centre was able to verify that he was sitting in the bush not far away.

 

"We just waited and then he started walking back home," said his mother. "But if he'd gone on the highway and we'd seen that he was moving, we could have called the police to get him."

 

After 100 days, the bracelet was removed. But the youth still remained within his boundaries.

 

"It's totally extinguished any running away behavior," said his mother, adding that keeping him in a controlled area reduced the severity of his addiction and allowed his mental state to improve.

 

"He's a totally different kid."

 

This application is the tip of the iceberg, agreed Morelli and Aloisio.

 

Law enforcement officers are another group who could benefit from location monitoring, and they've also discussed their technology with the operators of an Alberta ski hill.

 

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