Statewide Amber Alert Test To Be Held In January – On The Anniversary Of The First Ever ‘Amber Alert’
The Amber Alert Program, administered by the Montana Department of Justice is looking at January 13, 2017, a date which has a special significance to missing children everywhere.
Coordinator of Montana's Amber Alert Program, Jennifer Viets, said there will be a statewide test of the Amber Alert on January 13, the anniversary of the very first 'Amber Alert'
"January 13th is the National Amber Alert Day," Viets said. "It's a memorial to Amber Hagerman. She was a young lady who was abducted in 1996 while riding her bike in front of her grandparents' home in Texas. This is when the first Amber Alert process began because this was the first time that law enforcement had worked with the media to notify the public about an abduction."
Amber was found murdered not far from where she was abducted, and her killer has never been found.
Viets said the test will be statewide starting at 10:00 a.m.
"This is an end to end production test, to make sure we have everything working smoothly and efficiently," she said. "Last year, we upgraded our Amber Alert system to include the Code Red application, and we haven't yet done an end to end test, so this is pretty exciting for us.We have approval from FEMA and the FCC to do this test and citizens of Montana will receive alerts on their cell phones."
Amber Alerts have become a way of life in the United States, with many success stories.
"Amber Alerts are a very effective way of getting the public involved in looking for an abducted child that has been taken under life-threatening circumstances," she said. "Over 840 kids in the United States have been rescued by Amber Alerts. Montana began our program in 2003, and there have been 32 Amber Alerts issued, and we've been able to locate all 47 children involved, and i want to thank the public for their support."
There are two types of Amber Alert signals. The first is known as WEA, a Wireless Emergency Alert, a message that comes through the Homeland Security system that FEMA manages, It will send out a loud tone on a cell phone, and will be accompanied by a 90 character text and every phone in the Amber Alert area should receive that message. The second is the Code Red system, available only to those who download the free application onto their phones. This will provide more detailed information, with additional circumstances, photos and telephone numbers, and a URL for a poster, all through the Code Red App.
The statewide Amber Alert test will be at 10:00 a.m. on January 13, 2017.