TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Amber Alerts

Re: Amber Alerts

John McHarry (
Fri, 14 Apr 2006 23:59:15 GMT

On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 20:54:52 -0400, Wesrock wrote:

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

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note:

>> The AMBER Alert Plan, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a
>> voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters,
>> and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most
>> serious child-abduction cases.

In NC, at least, it isn't voluntary. Most EAS messages get printed out and
can be delayed, read by local staff, or ignored. Amber Alerts, like
national alerts (full scale nuclear war), cut through immediately.

>> Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a
>> description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. This is
>> the same concept used during severe weather emergencies. The goal
>> of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to
>> assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.

> The FAQ from the same fact sheet says:

>> How do AMBER Alerts work?

>> The information is then faxed to radio stations designated as
>> primary stations under the EAS. The primary stations send the same
>> information to area radio and television stations and cable systems
>> via the EAS, and participating stations immediately broadcast the
>> information to millions of listeners. Radio stations interrupt
>> programming to announce the Alert, and television stations and cable
>> systems run a "crawl" on the screen along with a picture of the
>> child.

At least for radio stations, there is a chain. Secondary stations, and
so on, have monitor receivers which trigger special EAS decoders to
receive and print out the data, as well as record or immediately play
the audio. I think lower tier stations monitor at least two stations
above them, and the EAS equipment is hooked into the audio chain where
it can over ride everything else.

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