Many different variables, both good and bad, make up our day on a day-to-day basis. There also are various alerts that have been implemented for our protection. Alerts are a signal that potential treats or danger may be lurking. And, although there are handfuls of alerts you should be aware of, three are mentioned here.
A Sign of the Times
1. You are driving down the highway and see an Amber Alert flashing, but are unsure of exactly what it means. The Amber Alert Program came into fruition in honor of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted while riding her bike in Arlington, Texas and subsequently was found slain. This program is a voluntary partnership between broadcasters, law-enforcement agencies, transportation agencies and the wireless industry, to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases of children 17 years’ or younger.
The Amber Alert calls for the community to spring into action, in the search for and the safe recovery of the missing child. This program took effect in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What mediums are Amber Alerts used through? They are broadcast through television, radio, road signs and all available technologies referred to as the Amber Alert Secondary Distribution Program. Moreover, these broadcast outlets let law enforcement use the public’s help to quickly locate abducted children. And, the U.S. Department of Justice coordinates the Amber Alert program on a national basis. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children offers more information, on how we can better protect our children. One final note about the Amber Alert, the name now stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.
2. Our elders dedicated a lot of time, instilled values and nurtured us during our formative years. So, naturally, we bear the responsibility of protecting them from calamity in the later part of their lives. This is precisely the reason why the Silver Alert was created in Colorado, in 2006. The Silver Alert is modeled after the Amber Alert System, but this network is used to help locate wanderers. Relatives of those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other cognitive disabilities are constantly on guard and fear the worst, that their loved one might wander away and get lost or harmed, as well. Furthermore, statistics show more than nine out of 10 people with dementia who leave the house alone, are likely to be unable to find their way back home without assistance.
With the Silver Alert, a missing person incident is reported to the local police. Personal health information may be necessary and it should demonstrate that the person (age 60 and up) suffers from dementia or otherwise is deemed mentally impaired. Relatives also should have in their possession other details that would help in tracking down the missing senior. After all this information is verified, police inform the state agency tasked to issue alerts.
What happens next? A statewide Silver Alert is issued by the specific state agency. In a plethora of states, it’s the Department of Public Safety; in others, the alert can be issued by the State Police. Additional agencies that may be responsible for overseeing this alert are the Highway Patrol or Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney General, the State Bureau of Investigation and a State Center for Missing Persons, even. Once a Silver Alert is issued, it is displayed on electronic highway signs, on broadcast radio and on television stations.
There is one difference between Silver Alerts and the former. Amber Alerts of missing children immediately interrupt regularly scheduled programming. The Silver Alert message does not conflict with regularly scheduled programming, but mention is made of the Silver Alert during commercial breaks, which occur every half-hour or hour.
3. Law enforcement officials play a critical role in society and protect and serve our community, in the best way possible. The Blue Alert is thereby dedicated to them. What is the Blue Alert? It disburses information when a law enforcement officer is killed or is seriously or critically wounded in a line of duty. This alert utilizes the technologies employed by the Amber Alert, with the aim of providing immediate information to the public, about violent suspects via media broadcasts and other notification resources to solicit assistance from the public.
In some instances, additional information is provided for broadcast, such as a lengthy description of the suspect’s vehicle or other means of escape. What typically occurs afterward? In a perfect world, the suspect or suspects are brought to justice, at once.
At present, there is no national alert system in place that distributes information to the media, other law enforcement or the general public in regard to officers who have been injured or killed; however, many states have created a state-level blue alert system.
Proceeding with Caution
There is much in the way of alerts. We never truly know when or if we’ll need the assistance of a fellow citizen, in the event that an unforeseen set of circumstance befalls us. With this in mind, it’s everyone’s job to ensure their environment is made safer. Like the old saying goes, “Time is of the essence.” This couldn’t be more truer, than with the Amber, Silver and Blue Alerts.