Marquette County Triad promotes programs for older adult safety

MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Marquette County Triad is spreading awareness about the programs available to the older adult population in the county.

Triad is a three-way effort among the sheriff’s department, police chiefs, and senior leadership in the county to help promote older adult safety, reduce the criminal victimization of seniors, and enhance the delivery of law enforcement services. Since 1998, Marquette County Triad has been helping to provide programs and resources that can be implemented at a community level, as well as training materials for law enforcement, volunteers and community groups. One of these programs is Smart911.

“If you’re a part of Smart911, as soon as the dispatcher gets your call, up on the screen if you’re participating will come with all of your details that you share with them. Your medical problems, your medications, anything of detail, you can put as much as you want in and it’s up to you. We always recommend to do as much as you’re comfortable with,” said Marquette County Triad Committee Chairperson Richard Johnson.

Another program Triad participates in is Life Tracker.

“Life Tracker is a program that’s been around for quite a while. It started for primarily elderly with dementia, Alzheimer’s and so on, but it’s a bracelet that can be worn on the wrist, on the ankle, which sends out a signal. So, if somebody has a household member who’s tends to wander, say it’s dementia, and we also go for autistic children because they can be very susceptible to wandering,” said Johnson. “And so, what happens if a central gets a call saying, you know, Grandpa wandered off and he’s on this program, he has his little bracelet. They immediately get search and rescue out there and the Hiawatha Radio Club, amateur radio club, they have volunteers of a wall with special receivers. And they triangulate and they can find people within minutes.”

Trooper Tom Kinnunen with Michigan State Police Negaunee Post says there is a need for volunteers to help with the Life Tracker program.

“I think the commitment to Life Tracker is minimal. It’s manageable. Although the initial safety [course], like I said I’m on the list to attend it, but I think it’s like maybe an hour to familiarize yourself with the equipment and like replacing the battery. And there is a need because there are more clients than volunteers so volunteers have multiple clients and if we could spread that out to be more manageable, we would appreciate it,” said Tpr. Kinnunen.

The File of Life is another program Triad promotes to those in the community. It is a red refrigerator magnet that holds a card with important medical information listed on it, such as medications, allergies, etc. The File of Life allows emergency personnel responding to a residence to know the patient’s medical history, even if that person is unable to communicate with them. While Triad is targeted towards the senior population, Johnson says all of these programs are available to any age group.

“Triad is a good source of safety information and for senior citizens is the same focus. But also, it will fulfil I think across all age groups,” Johnson added.

To sign up your loved one to become a client of the Life Tracker Program or to request a File of Life, please call 906-315-2607. For Smart911, you can sign up online at and create a profile. The information you provide is private, secure, and you control what information is in your profile. For more information on Triad or its programs, you can contact the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) office at 906-315-2658

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