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Social Media Portal - Profiled - Christine Platz - Project Lifesaver

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 02 July 2009

Profiled - Project Lifesaver - The blog and website for search, rescue and rapid recovery program


An interview with Christine Platz, Administrative Assistant - Programs and Media at Project Lifesaver


Project Lifesaver tells SMP about helping people that wander due to Alzheimer's, Autism, ARMD related conditions or other disorders using social media



Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at Project Lifesaver?
 

Christine Platz (CP): My job title is Administrative Assistant – Programs and Media.  My role consists of writing news/press releases, writing and submitting grants, sending information/brochures to new agencies, answering questions agencies may have regarding marketing in their communities, managing the website and updating searches and information, coordinating small scale events such as local fundraisers or ceremonies, managing social sites such as Blogger and Twitter, and many other marketing and media-related responsibilities.Photograph of Christine Platz, Administrative Assistant - Programs and Media at Project Lifesaver

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Project Lifesaver, what is it and what does it do?  

CP: The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down Syndrome, dementia or other related cognitive disorders is a growing and serious responsibility. Without effective procedures and training, as well as equipment, searches can involve multiple agencies, hundreds of offices, countless man hours and thousands of dollars.  More importantly, because time is of the essence, every minute lost increases the risk of a tragic outcome.  Project Lifesaver’s primary mission is to locate and rescue missing persons, particularly those with the above mentioned disorders, who are prone to wander.  We train search and rescue personnel across the United States and supply them with equipment to effectively locate and return missing persons home to their loved ones.

SMP: What made you start (or the founder/s) Project Lifesaver blog?  

I believe it is important to provide an outlet for those who don’t know about our program to ask questions, and for those who do participate in the program to blog about searches and provide information to others about the success of Project Lifesaver.

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?  

CP: Nothing is too challenging!

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?  

CP: Our target audience is

  1. caregivers who support Alzheimer’s or dementia patients,
  2. parents of children with Autism and
  3. law enforcement/public safety agencies across the United States

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your site / service, and how do you do it now?  

CP: We constantly train and equip agencies throughout the United States on successful search and rescue tactics and strategies, as well as on equipment usage. We encourage agencies to seek funds from community members and businesses to help supply transmitters to community members who may need them.  We advertise in a variety of magazines and speak & attend conferences across the United States to help spread the word about Project Lifesaver.  We blog on social media outlets and publicize stories about searches and rescues.  This is how we have always tried to get the word out about Project Lifesaver.

SMP: What are your low moments of what you have been doing so far?  


CP: We haven’t had too many low moments – our constant struggle is trying to get the word out about the Program.

SMP: What are your high moments of what you have been doing so far?  

CP: To date, Project Lifesaver has performed over 1,900 successful searches across the United States.  To know that what you do saves lives is definitely the highest moment.

SMP: Now that you are established, what do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities?  

CP: One of our biggest challenges is funding to help advertise our program and equip agencies with equipment, training and supplies.  We constantly apply for grants and funding at the local, state, and federal levels.

SMP: What are the next moves for Project Lifesaver?  

CP: We are trying to bring on new agencies and help those that can’t afford transmitters to find funding in their communities.

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media and networks?  

CP: I think we have a completely new way to communicate with one another – you can jump on a site and instantly talk/chat with friends and family.  The whole idea of social media and networking is groundbreaking, and I believe will definitely have a positive impact on our future, and the future of business and staying connected.

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?  


CP: It all changes so much – who knows what will happen by the end of 2009!?  

SMP: What impact is the global recession having and what do you think the best way is to manage it for businesses such as yours?  

CP: The best way to manage the economy is by looking over your budgets and cutting out what is least important – we find that our business can save money by cutting back on the little things (printing, paper, pens, etc) – I always think – do I need to print that email, or can I save it in my inbox?  Sometimes it’s the little things that add up to make the biggest difference.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at Project Lifesaver?  

CP: Project Lifesaver is constantly growing, and so we are always looking at better and new ways of doing things.  So, this philosophy ties right in with our organization and plans for PLI.

SMP: Best way to contact you?

CP
: cplatz @ projectlifesaver.org    

Now questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

CP: Kashi bar and banana (and coffee)!

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?  

CP: Gathered supplies for a local family whose home was destroyed in a fire.

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

CP:
I work 28 at Project Lifesaver, and I also have a part time evening job and I am starting my own business on the side. So total, maybe 55 hours/week?

SMP: If you weren’t running Project Lifesaver what would you be doing?  

CP: Biking at the beach

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday? 


CP: I went home to spend time with family and friends (and spend my first Christmas with my niece and nephew who were born in 2008)!

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning? 

CP: Make coffee!

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

CP: I would be able to fly. Why? Because, who doesn’t want to fly?

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