Montana News

Apr 30, 2013 9:12 AM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News

New Amber Alert notification system used in Montana

HELENA - Smartphone owners may have received an Amber Alert early Sunday morning for a report a missing Kalispell boy.

MTN reporter Melissa Anderson found out that while the warning system was well received by most, there were others who found it unwelcome.

Smart phone owners may have heard, and received, two Amber Alert messages early Sunday morning.

"You'll hear the loud tone that's sent out and that's usually followed by a message that tells about the Amber Alert. You know who the child is, what the suspect information is, if there's a vehicle involved," explained Derek VanLuchene of Ryan United.

The emergency alert system was issued to inform citizens in both Montana and Washington state of a recent abduction of a one-year-old child from the Kalispell area. This is the first time the new alert system was used in Montana, and appears to be successful.

"They eventually ended up catching up with the suspects in Washington.In talking to some folks, it was a direct result of that alert that was sent out." said VanLuchene.

Back in December of 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Justice and the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children implemented the wireless emergency alert plan.

Van Luchene says while most people responded favorably toward the information, there were those who complained on social media they don't want to be involved. But if that's the case, then they can opt out.

"I guess if somebody didn't want it to be on their phone, there is an option that you can go in and turn off on your smart phone." said VanLuchene.

Every state has the wireless emergency alert plan which can also be triggered during disastrous weather warnings. It's one more way that our smart phones will help us stay informed in the future.

"FEMA can sort of pick, based on cell phone towers, where the affected area is." said VanLuchene.

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