Social Media Alert Credited with Saving Ohio Man's Life
BLUFFTON - Bluffton Police Chief Rick Skilliter told Village Council on Monday he believes a free public alert system saved an elderly man's life last week.
Bluffton police received a report of a missing elderly man at 6:46 a.m. Wednesday. The man, who suffered from several medical conditions, was last seen by his wife before midnight the night before.
Officers determined the man had taken a truck that was reported missing from the neighborhood, after an Allen County Sheriff's Office dog tracked his scent to where the truck was parked.
Police sent out a Nixle alert message to Bluffton subscribers with the vehicle's description at 7:20 a.m. and received a call from a citizen who saw a truck matching the description just north of town on Bentley Road. The man was located eight minutes after the message was sent out. He was taken to Bluffton Hospital and later transferred to Lima Memorial Hospital, where he is recovering.
Nixle is a free service that allows public safety officials to send text and email alerts to subscribers. The system is used to alert the public about traffic advisories, weather-related issues, road closings and emergency public safety issues.
There are about 504 Nixle subscribers in Bluffton.
The police chief said he was certain the man would have frozen to death if authorities had not located him with the help of the public.
"I cannot stress the importance enough and we encourage people to sign up," Skilliter said.
Bluffton residents can visit http://www.nixle.com to subscribe. Anyone with questions may contact Chief Skilliter at 419-358-2961, ext. 109.
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