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Quick Response Key in Missing Person Cases

Anderson, S.C. -- A 72-year-old old man found Tuesday after he was reported missing was not far from his home and was examined by emergency medical response workers before returning to his family, authorities said Wednesday.

Around 5:05 p.m. Tuesday, Anderson County sheriff 's deputies responded to a call of a missing person on Green Tree Road. The call to 911 was made when James Thompson Jr., an Alzheimer's disease patient and diabetic, did not return home and no one had seen or heard from him, officials said.

Twelve minutes after the 911 call was received, a unified mobile command center was established, and officials began making plans for a search of the area, said Anita Donley, public information officer for the Anderson County emergency services division.

At the command center, employees of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office, Anderson Technical Rescue, MedShore Ambulance Service and Anderson County public safety department worked together, Donley said.

At 7:06 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff 's Deputy Sean Proner and K-9 handler deputy John Martin informed the command center that Thompson had been found, in part because of the work of a 7-monthold bloodhound named Emma.

"It was a good day," Donley said.

Thompson was found in a wooded area roughly two miles from his residence, Donley said. Thompson was checked by emergency medical services workers and was determined to be fine in terms of his medical condition. Family members came to the place where he was found and took him back home, Donley said.

The sheriff 's office and the city of Anderson Police Department have implemented new procedures recently for missing person calls.

Once an officer or sheriff 's deputy determines that a person is missing, a request is made to 9-1-1 Central Communications to activate "A Child Is Missing" telephone notification program. Through this system, the 911 supervisor is able to activate a telephone notification program to the surrounding area asking residents to step outside and observe their surroundings to see if they spot the missing person. The system was implemented in the search for Thompson, Donley said.

Law enforcement officials also may request that the Billboard Emergency Alert System be activated. That program consists of local businesses that volunteer their signs and marquees to alert travelers to missing persons and other emergency hazards. Activation of the program was not needed as part of the search for Thompson, Donley said.

Another procedure to enhance quick response in missing person cases is the deployment of the unified mobile command unit to all missing person reports, officials said.

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