In a country as densely populated as the United States, it is very difficult to keep in touch with everyone. Tracking down each person is even more difficult and requires the efforts of all members of the community to help. Communication technologies are critical here, and Amber Alert has become one example of the successful use of public information to track children’s whereabouts. The success of Amber Alert has led to the emergence of other alert systems, such as Silver Alert.
Identify this type of warning
This type of warning is somewhat the opposite of an orange warning when it comes to the elderly. It is based on a program called the “National Silver Alert Program”, which aims to save uncontrolled elderly people suffering from cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The idea of the warning first emerged in December 2005, when Fred Perry – a representative from Oklahoma – wanted to create something that works like Amber Alert to save the elderly. The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved the following year and passed a resolution (HR 1075) that would make full use of the system to search for missing elderly people. It wasn’t finalized until April 2009, when Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed the law.
Several other states have adopted the system, and current statistics show that more than half of the United States already uses the program. Florida saw the importance and potential of the warning in early 2008, when the tragedy occurred when an 86-year-old woman ran away from her boarding house to leave, but was in an accident.
It is estimated that about half of older people in the United States who shy away from observation will be seriously injured or even die if they are not found within 24 hours.
How the warning works
The system works in the same way as Amber Alerts, and uses state-of-the-art media channels including cable TV networks and stations, radio stations and text messages. 911 return service systems have also been used to educate missing elderly people in the area, including information on their last known whereabouts.
The program’s website offers even more opportunities where older people with medical conditions can register and enter all their medical and vital medical records, personal data, information about caregivers, and photos. The information is kept safe and will be used by the emergency services only after they call their toll-free emergency number and a report will be drawn up.
It also helps to popularize the warning by offering ID packages, bracelets and pendants. The ID card package includes 2 ID cards suitable for a wallet of any standard size, and a larger ID card to be placed on the window or front door. These maps work together when an ID card with emergency information appears on the fridge, while a larger ID card from the outside indicates that an ID card has been found in the fridge. The package includes an emergency magnet on the refrigerator for extra visibility.
Bracelets and pendants for ID cards allow people who are not at home to contact emergency services from any local location by phone, as the toll-free number is engraved with an emergency number and a special serial number associated with an elderly person registered in the database. This information will be used by respondents to contact the call center and obtain all the necessary information about the missing person.
The exact triggers for the silver alert vary by state. In some states, cash alerts are issued only if a lost person is 65 years of age or older and is known to be incapable of learning. Strict criteria have been set to reduce the number of false positives due to misinterpretation.
Some criticism of this and other warning systems is that the increasing use of these alerts may reduce their overall importance due to the increased likelihood of false warnings or the possibility that people will not take warnings too seriously because of the oversaturation. However, current cases of identity theft, elder abuse and a large number of older people show that the Silver Alert program will greatly help and save lives.