The North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) today announced an annual test of the AMBER - America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response - Alert system to be conducted between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Friday, May 16, 2008.
"Exercising the plan is crucial to ensure quick response and sharing of potentially life-saving information with the public during an AMBER Alert," said Colonel Mark Nelson. "AMBER Alert is a powerful tool in both deterring child abductions and, in the event a child is abducted, aiding in the rapid and safe recovery of the child."
All components of the AMBER Alert Plan will be tested. Advance notification is important to avoid misinterpretation of this test as an actual AMBER Alert.
The AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary partnership among law enforcement, state agencies, the National Weather Service (NWS) and North Dakota Broadcasters Association to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. NDDES, in collaboration with the NWS, uses the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to provide a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor to statewide radio and television broadcast stations, which disseminate the information to the public. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child.
AMBER Alerts are recorded on the ND Department of Transportation's (NDDOT) 511 Road and Weather Information System, are displayed on the NDDOT roadside message signs, the http://www.nd.gov/amber website, and are also displayed on scrolling banners at the North Dakota State Lottery terminal sites. "During an actual AMBER Alert, I encourage citizens to call 511 to receive current information issued in the Alert," said Nelson. Cellular phone users may also receive a text message of AMBER Alerts, free of charge, activated in the subscriber's area by simply signing up for the service at www.wirelessfoundation.org. Since the statewide system was unveiled in February of 2003, North Dakota has issued three AMBER Alerts. Nationwide, AMBER Alert has been credited with the successful recovery of 397 children!