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AMBER Alerts

The Maryland State Police announced on March 7 AMBER Alert notifications are now being sent to every wireless emergency alert (WEA) cell phone in the area of the alert.

Effective immediately, AMBER Alert notifications in Maryland will be sent to all cell phones with wireless emergency alert compatibility in the state. Previously, AMBER Alerts were only received on your cell phone if you had visited a website and chose to ‘opt’ in. This no longer applies to the new AMBER Alert cell phone notification system.

The wireless emergency alert uses a loud tone, similar to the emergency alert system (EAS) messages on radio or television, to notify the public. Additional to the audible sounds, the system will also send a ninety character text message with basic information concerning the AMBER Alert. If you travel outside of Maryland, you will continue to receive alerts issued in the areas you visit.

Since inception, the AMBER Alert system has been instrumental in the safe recovery of 602 children nationwide. The AMBER Alert signals a critical life or death situation. This new system will allow the alert to reach more of the public, and enlist their eyes to help find an abducted child and aid in their safe recovery.

Users who choose not to receive the AMBER Alert can contact their cell phone service provider or shut off the alerts in the “alert/notifications” section of their cellular phone. If the phone is placed on vibrate or silent, the audio tone will not be heard.

The FCC, FEMA and the Wireless Association (CTIA) assisted in the development of this new “Commercial Mobile Alert System”, to notify the public of certain emergencies. Included in this new system is the new AMBER Alert cell phone notification.

Maryland instituted the AMBER Alert program in August of 2002. To date Maryland has issued 33 AMBER Alerts. The AMBER Alert is issued for abducted children only and must meet strict criteria. An AMBER Alert can be requested by law enforcement only. The system is not utilized for Silver Alerts.

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