Changes in The Amber Alert System

Recent Amber Alerts sent to cell phones have residents wondering about the new program and how they became automatically enrolled.

In the last few months, some of you are receiving AMBER Alerts on their cell phones as “emergency alerts”.


Beginning January 1, 2013, the Wireless Emergency Alert System was launched nationally by the Department of Justice and FEMA.


The reason for an AMBER Alert is to assist in the recovery of an abducted child believed to be in danger. Issuing AMBER Alerts have assisted in the successful recovery of over 640 children from their abductors nationwide.

There are three different alerts issued through the alert system. This includes Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threat Alerts for man-made or natural disasters, and AMBER Alerts.


Users may “opt out” of AMBER Alerts and Imminent Threat Alerts by contacting their wireless provider. Presidential Alerts cannot be opted out of.


The public is cautioned that “opting out” of receiving an AMBER Alert will affect their ability to receive alerts when they are travelling outside their “home” area. The service uses GPS for notifications, not cell numbers. So anyone travelling through the area of an AMBER Alert will receive the alert.