AMBER Alert: Emergency Notifications for Community Health


Just use your imagination for a second. You are swamped with errands. Your daughter wants to ride her bike so you let her. After what seems like seconds of working in the house, you feel your heart sink. You run out to the front to find your daughter. But she’s gone. Forever.

A brief History of the Amber Alert illustrates the terrible tragedy of Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle and brutally murdered. In remembrance of her, the Amber Alert was initiated. This Emergency Alert System (EAS) found it’s way to the White House and became a part of the Department of Justice’s political agenda. Now, The Amber Alert is being constantly improved to match all communities and keep children safe.


 In a research done by Aaron Smith and Dana Page, U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015, they explain that over two-thirds of American own a smartphone and how this increasingly important role that smartphones play in helping Americans access, share, and create information and communicate with others. In an article by Ashley Fantz of CNN (2013), it exclaims the Amber Alert success and proof of more than 650 kids rescued through Amber Alert since its inception. The article explains the story of an abduction that was notified through FIVE states. The abduction happened in Southern California and a hiking couple notified in Idaho saw the Amber Alert and recognized the descriptions who were camped out in the mountains.

As Clay Shirky would explain in Chapter 11 of Here Comes Everybody, mobile communication is “not selling a product, but calling people to come together”. This long-living Emergency Alert System brings people together to save children’s lives. It’s a motivating cause to save children communicated through efficient mobile and television networks, bringing a community together and cultivating a safe environment to keep kids safe.



One thought on “AMBER Alert: Emergency Notifications for Community Health

  1. Very interesting post David. Thanks for the brief history of the Amber Alert. It was very informative. Chloe mentioned in her post how she received an Amber Alert on her phone every time a child was abducted in Los Angeles. When I first read that, it seemed like it was such a large area that the functionality of the alert system was essentially useless. However, your example of how someone in Idaho matched an alert to an abduction in Southern California shows that such alerts can indeed be effective. I also like the “call to action” reference that you include from Here Comes Everybody.
    It may have been beneficial to include “numbers” or “my experience” with SMS alerts to tie the content to the individual/your own experience; however, the overview is useful by its self. Another possible resource would be a “how to” guide to set up such alerts on your smart phone.

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