Here’s why some people do not receive Amber Alerts | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

WASHINGTON — When a child is abducted or taken from their family, every moment is critical in the race to bring them home. But after a child was taken when it was left inside an SUV that was stolen, some people in D.C. claimed they never got the Amber Alert issued on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department.


Do some people not receive emergency alerts such as Amber Alerts?


Washington D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)



Yes, some people do not receive emergency alerts, either by choice or by coincidence.


When a child is separated from its family and law enforcement officers believe the child’s safety is at risk, they may request the activation of the Amber Alert system. Alerts are broadcast through FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alert system, which is the same system used for alerts about severe weather and other public safety issues. According to the NCMEC, journalists and transportation agencies receive the alerts directly to broadcast to their networks. NCMEC handles other distribution methods, including sending the alerts to internet service providers, digital billboards, cellular networks, and more.

HSEMA is responsible for the issuance of Amber Alerts in Washington, D.C. A spokesperson said officials have the ability to target an emergency alert to a specific geographic area. The alert is then sent to all cell towers in that area and to all cell phones connected to those towers.

If someone is in the designated geographic area but connected to a different cell tower, or if the tower malfunctions, they may not receive the alert. Likewise, someone outside the geographic boundary may be connected to a cell tower inside the boundary, which could allow some people in Maryland or Virginia to receive alerts designated for D.C.

Other reasons why FEMA says someone might not get an emergency alert:

  • If their phone is on airplane mode
  • Poor cell reception
  • If the person is on a call
  • If the person turned off notifications for Amber Alerts or other emergency alerts in their phone’s settings


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