Alert system could have saved vulnerable Kelowna man from death – Lake Country Calendar
Aleesha Wood wants to end preventable deaths of vulnerable people after her brother died in the woods of West Kelowna.
“He didn’t have to die,” said Aleesha, James Wood’s sister.
She advocates for an alert system similar to US-based Amber Alert, or Silver Alert, to be implemented for people with cognitive impairment who are unable to care for themselves.
She started a petition on change.org, titled “Vulnerable Persons Alert/Silver Alert for Canada.”
Aleesha proposes the establishment of an alert system that encompasses all people with cognitive impairment or decline, including, but not limited to, people with Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, Down syndrome and autism.
Aleesha alleges that her brother could have been found if an Alert Ready Broadcast Intrusive (BI) alert had been sent. When her brother wandered off on November 8, 2021, a missing person report was not released for 24 hours. When the report came out, a local couple called Crimestoppers and said they saw James walking on Smith Creek Road the day before.
The information was not released to family or the public. Local search and rescue groups searched the area to no avail.
Months later, a group of local hikers discovered that James had last been seen on Smith Creek Rd. Aleesha said they immediately organized a search and shortly after the start they discovered the remains. of James near the road.
By the time his body was discovered, only bones remained and an autopsy could not be performed.
Aleesha said if a BI alert was triggered immediately after his disappearance and the information was relayed correctly, it is likely his brother would still be alive today.
She said if the couple knew James was vulnerable and missing, they could have immediately called the police or the tip line, rather than waiting an entire day for a missing person report to be issued.
Aleesha believes that with an alert, the local hiking group could have left immediately knowing his whereabouts, and the public would have access to up-to-date information about his disappearance.
The Department of Health said it is currently investigating whether Silver Alerts for the Vulnerable or Missing Seniors is the right tool for British Columbia.
The department said police noted that “sending Silver Alerts through the intrusive broadcast alert system may not be appropriate as the public may be desensitized to the alerts.”
Emergency Management BC said “Local police have primary responsibility for locating missing persons. Currently, these agencies use localized channels, including social and traditional media, to advise and seek the public’s assistance when searching for missing persons.
Currently, Amber Alert is the only missing person event type that is approved for use as a BI Alert, Emergency Management said.
Alert Ready is a Canada-wide system that allows government officials in every province and territory, as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada, to issue public IB alerts via radio, television and compatible cell phones.
The ministry added that when elderly people with dementia wander and get lost, it is usually not far from their home – hence the work of local authorities, as well as the use of local media and social media , often gives quick and positive results.
City of KelowMissing PersonSearch and Rescue