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Amber Alert Information Right To Your Smart Phone [AUDIO]

A new Amber Alert texting system has been developed for New Jersey and the entire country.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

CTIA-The Wireless Association, The Wireless Foundation, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Syniverse have partnered with the FCC to create the Wireless Emergency Alerts program.

Bob Hoever, the Director of Special Programs for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says, “In the past, you could sign up for wireless Amber Alerts for up to 5 zip codes, but if you were somewhere else where an Amber Alert was declared, you weren’t notified. Now, rather than being zip-code driven, it’s cell tower driven…So no matter where you’re from in the country, if there’s an Amber Alert in New Jersey and those cell towers were activated- when you drive past that cell tower, your cell phone will be activated notifying you there is an amber alert in the area that you drove into.”

He points out, “Your cell phone has to be Wireless Emergency Alerts compliant to receive the messages – almost all new smart phones are WEA compliant…The message will appear like a text, with an audible alert.”

You can check with your carrier to find out if your smart phone is part of the WEA network.

Hoever adds, “The entire purpose of the Amber Alert program is to rapidly notify the public. When a child has been abducted, the more eyes and ears out there searching for that child, the greater our chances are of safely rescuing that child…This new technology broadens the reach of the Amber Alert and ensures that as many possible members of the public are alerted as possible. We do heavily rely on the public’s participation. As a matter of fact, to date there are 602 children that have been safely rescued and returned, specifically because of the Amber Alert program.”

He points out, “You don’t have to sign up for this -it’s automatic. If you have a smart phone that’s WEA compliant – the best way to find out is to go to your carrier’s website and find out if your particular cell phone is Wireless Emergency Alert Compliant.”

Hoever also says, “Because the text Amber Alert will only be 90 characters, users will be prompted to check with media in their area to get more specific information on the alert, and if there’s vehicle information available we will have the vehicle information in there.”

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