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Amber Alerts on your cellphone

 | July 9, 2010

Wireless users can now sign up to receive Amber Alert text messages on their handheld phones.

Amber Alerts are issued by the RCMP to notify the public about a child that’s been abducted. In British Columbia, the alerts go out to the police communication centres, the media and over 600 partners.

The alert includes a description of the child and/or the abductor and other important information that may aid in the safe return of the child. This information is immediately broadcasted on highway message boards, radio, television and cable.

There’s no cost to sign up for the wireless service. To sign up, send a text message with the word “AMBER” to shortcode 26237 (AMBER) on your cellphone. You will receive a text message asking if you’d like to receive alerts in English or in French. Reply with EN for English or FR for French. You will automatically be signed up to receive local Amber Alerts based on your phone’s area code.

You can also visit the Wireless Amber Alert website to sign up online. Simply type your phone number with area code and hit Submit. A four-letter PIN code will be sent to your cellphone. Enter this PIN code online to activate your subscription. You can also choose which areas to receive alerts from. To stop receiving alerts, text STOP to 26237.
Legitimate wireless alerts are only sent from 26237.

The Amber Alert program was established in the US after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman from Texas was kidnapped and murdered. The case remains unsolved. Amber Alerts were first adopted in Canada in 2002 and is now used in all of the provinces.

An alert is only issued if all of the following factors are present:

  • The child must be under 18 years of age.
  • Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the child has been abducted.
  • Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the victim is in imminent danger.
  • Police have information that will allow for a search such as the description of the child, the abductor and/or the vehicle used.
  • Police believe that the alert may help with the child’s return or help capture the abductor.

Visit the Wireless Amber Alert website at www.wirelessamber.ca.

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