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What is SILVER ALERT? What does SILVER ALERT mean? SILVER ALERT meaning, definition & explanation

What is SILVER ALERT? What does SILVER ALERT mean? SILVER ALERT meaning - SILVER ALERT definition - SILVER ALERT explanation.

Source: article, adapted under license.

A Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially senior citizens with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their being found.

Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets – such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable television – to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors. In cases in which a missing person is believed to be missing on foot, Silver Alerts have used Reverse 911 or other emergency notification systems to notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person's last known location.

Supporters of Silver Alert point to U.S.A growing elderly population as a reason to support new programs to locate missing seniors. Approximately six in ten dementia victims will wander at least once, health-care statistics show, and the numbers are growing worldwide, fueled primarily by Alzheimer's disease. If not found within 24 hours, up to half of wandering seniors with dementia suffer serious injury or death.

Activation criteria for Silver Alerts vary from state to state. Some states limit Silver Alerts to persons over the age of 65, who have been medically diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or a mental disability. Other states expand Silver Alert to include all children and adults with mental or developmental disabilities. In general, the decision to issue a Silver Alert is made by the law enforcement agency investigating the report of a missing person. Public information in a Silver Alert usually consists of the name and description of the missing person and a description of the missing person's vehicle and license plate number.

In December 2005, Oklahoma state Representative Fred Perry (R-Tulsa) announced his intention to introduce an "AMBER Alert for seniors", which he dubbed "Silver Alert." In March 2006, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed H.R. 1075, a resolution calling for a Silver Alert system to find missing seniors. In response to this non-binding resolution, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety added Silver Alert notifications to the statewide alerts sent to law enforcement agencies and the media for rapid distribution. In April 2009, Governor Brad Henry signed legislation permanently establishing the Silver Alert program.

In Georgia, public efforts to locate missing seniors increased following the April 2004 disappearance of Mattie Moore, a 68-year-old Atlanta resident with Alzheimer's disease. Eight months after Moore's disappearance, her body was found 500 yards from her home. The City of Atlanta created "Mattie's Call" to coordinate and support Metro Atlanta law enforcement, emergency management and broadcasters to issue an urgent bulletin in missing persons cases involving persons with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other mental disabilities. Legislation to create a statewide Mattie's Call program was enacted in April 2006.

In Florida, Mary Zelter, an 86-year-old resident of Largo, drove away from her assisted-living facility on February 26, 2008, and never returned. Her body was found a week later 10 miles (16 km) away in the Intracoastal Waterway near a Clearwater boat ramp. Her submerged car was nearby. This tragedy prompted Pinellas County officials to create a Silver Alert pilot program that later grew into a statewide initiative.


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