ALBANY, N.Y. - A new notification system allows thousands of cell phone users across New York State to receive free, automatic AMBER Alert notifications.
An AMBER Alert is an emergency alert activated in the most serious child abduction cases and has been used in New York State since 2002. The automated alerts are now possible through the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, a new system for NY this year.
The messages will be sent to residents in an area where an alert has been activated. When receiving one of these messages, the phone will emit an audible tone unique to WEA and then display an AMBER Alert. The message is not in the form of a text message. It is a full screen alert that will provide limited details.
The public can subscribe to receive free AMBER Alert text messages by going to the NY Alert website and creating an account at www.amber.ny.gov. The account can be customized to receive alerts in the form of text messages, fax, and/or email.
Many cell phone users do not know their phones even have this feature and the wireless industry has indicated that all cell phones are expected to be WEA capable in 2013.
New York State Police Senior Investigator Gary Kelly, AMBER Alert Coordinator for NY State said, "WEA is another tool that greatly enhances the public's ability to play a role in the recovery of an abducted child. With the AMBER Alert information in their hands, the public can now immediately help in the search for the child."