Module 2: During the Missing Incident


In this module, we will provide stories from first responders, search techniques, and tips for engaging with the person living with dementia once they are found. 

Learning Objectives

  • To hear firsthand from First Responders engaged with person living with dementia/to experience a search along with First Responders 

  • To explore the basic concepts and tips for search and rescue, discussing both rural and urban searches as well as environmental considerations such as geography and the season. 

  • To learn new tips for how to engage with a person living with dementia when they are found. 

  • To learn how search techniques may vary depending on the resources available. 

The Risk of Going Missing

This video highlights the critical role that First Responders play in reducing the number of missing incidents among persons living with dementia through learning and educating caregivers. First Responders can recognize the varied signs and symptoms of dementia, and adopt a dementia-friendly approach. First Responders are encouraged to learn about services available for people affected by dementia in their communities, adding the person to a vulnerable person’s registry if available, and educating on the importance of sharing one’s diagnosis of dementia with others to help prevent missing incidents.  

Remote video URL

Part 1: Introduction to Search and Rescue

This video introduces the basic concepts of Search and Rescue (SAR) of persons living with dementia, as there are behaviours associated with this population. After a call to emergency services, Peacekeepers (or police) gather more information from the caller to confirm whether the person is missing. Two forms are used to determine the level and urgency of the response, as well as provide information about the point the missing person was last seen. First Responders look for clues that indicate the direction and time of travel, as well as the well-being of the person. Statistical search areas are based on where the person was last seen and whether an urban or rural setting is involved. As it is characteristic among persons living with dementia to continue travelling until they become stuck, First Responders ought to check hazards where missing persons may have gotten wedged or trapped. The aim of SAR is to find the lost person as quickly as possible, in the best condition possible. 

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Part 2: Advanced Concepts in Search and Rescue

This video highlights the advanced strategies that Search and Rescue (SAR) teams use, detailing systematic and coordinated efforts when searching for a missing person with dementia. These strategies include breaking off into pairs or trios and dividing responsibilities such as canvassing neighbours, searching properties nearby where the person with dementia was last seen, and following the path of least resistance. The video discusses the specialized equipment and technology used, as well as the unique considerations required with this population, which tends to leave fewer clues. Access to data regarding past SAR incidents will significantly increase the likelihood of finding missing persons with dementia.    

Remote video URL

Urban Search and Rescue

This video highlights the search and rescue tactics employed when a person living with dementia goes missing in an urban setting. It is vital to search everywhere that a person could possibly fit. A strategy used indoors is to work through a building from the top floor down. A strategy used outdoors is to set a 300-metre radius in every possible direction a person may have travelled. Tunnel vision is common in dementia, where individuals travel straight and even get stuck in construction or hazards. By learning about dementia and how it impacts behaviours, First Responders can more effectively locate missing persons with dementia. 

Remote video URL

Interactive Quiz

Assess your learning from the above videos here.

No grades involved, just for your own purposes!