TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Amber Alerts

Re: Amber Alerts

Neal McLain (
Wed, 12 Apr 2006 07:05:26 -0400

Wes Leatherock <> wrote:

> I do not have any information on the subject, but I
> wonder in what way Amber Alerts are disseminated so
> quickly.

> Surely there must be some form of authentication and then
> rapid transmission to various police agencies, the media,
> and the state DOTs.

As the fact sheet quoted in Pat's "TELECOM Digest Editor's Note"
indicated, it's called the Emergency Alert System (EAS). A "primary"
AM radio station in each community sends out alert messages. Each
message begins with that godawful "buzz buzz buzz" noise, followed by
a voice message and an encoded three-letter event code indicating the
nature of the alert. The "Child Abduction Emergency" code is CAE.

A list of event codes is at

Equipment at reception points monitors the primary and responds to the
codes accordingly. A radio or TV station issues an alert either
immediately (automatically, interrupting programming) or within a few
minutes (manually, at a logical break point). Automatic equipment at
cable tv headends inserts a crawl on some/all channels immediately
(satellite TV operators are exempt). Newspapers may do a story.
Other agencies take whatever action is appropriate.

Further information:

Neal McLain

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