With more than 800,000 children reported missing across the country last year, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is asking parents to “Take 25” and talk with their kids about personal safety issues as part of National Missing Children’s Day on Saturday, May 25, 2013.
“Take 25” is a national effort through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that encourages parents to spend 25 minutes with their children to talk about risks they face from abductors, online predators and other criminals,” said Kristina Bomba, CBI’s AMBER Alert Program coordinator. “These are critical conversations that can provide children and young adults with the necessary tools to avoid becoming a victim.”
According to NCMEC, 84% of children escape would-be abductors through their own actions by yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention. For a complete list of safety tips and conversation starters visit www.take25.org.
Some of the tips through Take 25 include: Have age appropriate discussions with your children about being at home alone, at school or out and about. Teach them how to react in various situations and how to report incidents. The Internet is a useful tool but without supervision, it can be an unsafe place for children. Set rules and guidelines for using the Internet.
In addition to providing children with the resources they need to stay safe while walking to school or while online through the Take 25 program, there’s another tool available to alert Colorado residents about active AMBER Alerts in the state. The recently expanded Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, eliminates the text-based Wireless AMBER Alert program.
The old Wireless AMBER Alert system required cell phone users to subscribe to the program and designate the area for which they wanted to receive SMS text alerts. These messages only reached a small portion of the population and subscribers would only receive alert information for the designated areas, regardless of their physical location.
If you own a phone that is WEA-ready, you will automatically receive not only AMBER alerts but also imminent threat events (such as tornadoes, etc.) and other alerts. To confirm the availability of Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone, contact your wireless provider.
An added benefit of the updated system is that it provides alerts based on your geographical location. Whether you live in Colorado or travel out of state on business, you will receive alerts pertinent to the area where you (and your phone) are located at the time of the alert.
Information contained in the AMBER Alerts on your cell phone is limited to no more than 90 characters and provide basic information to include: who is sending the alert, what is happening, who is affected and what action to take. For specific details about a case following an AMBER Alert through the WEA, residents should tune-in to local media.
Officials hope this updated system continues to build on the success of the AMBER Alert program. Since its inception in 1996, the AMBER Alert program can be credited for the successful recovery of 642 children.
Additional FAQ’s: http://www.missingkids.com/amber/wea