Amber Alert Plan
Recommended Guidelines for Indiana Radio and Television Stations
What is the Amber Alert Plan?
The Amber Alert Plan is a cooperative effort between the Indiana radio and television stations and law enforcement agencies. The plan calls for law enforcement agencies to provide radio and television stations with an alert upon the immediate confirmation of a qualifying child abduction. All participating stations will break programming to broadcast the alert and subsequent information provided by law enforcement.
What is“Qualifying Abduction?”
- The child must be under 18 years of age.
- The child must be believed to be abducted, and in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
- There must be enough descriptive information to believe the broadcast will help.
- Request must be recommended by the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction.
How will the radio and television stations obtain the information about child abductions?
When a law enforcement official determines a qualifying abduction has occurred, the Indiana AMBER and Silver Alert Center (IASAC) of the State Police will be notified and provided with basic facts. IASAC will confirm the accuracy of the information and issue an Amber Alert via the State Emergency Alert System (EAS).
Is our station(s) required to broadcast an Amber Alert?
No, but the success of the program depends greatly on the maximum number of people hearing the message and being on the lookout for the abductor. If a child in your community were abducted, you would certainly want the benefit of the Amber Alert Program.
Do broadcasters have immunity in airing an Amber Alert?
YES, Indiana Code 10-13-5-8.5 provides immunity for a broadcaster that participates in the Amber Alert program and broadcasts the Amber Alert notification EXACTLY as received from the IASAC without adlibbing or additional reporting.
When we receive an Amber Alert, what is the procedure?
The Amber Alert will come to your station via your EAS receiver as a CAE (Child Abduction Event). Your receiver may be programmed for automatic interrupt of programming or delay. If delayed, we encourage you to broadcast the alert immediately, without operator intervention, otherwise within a minimum of 15 minutes. Getting the information on the air as soon as possible is the key factor. The most crucial time in an abduction is the first one or two hours.
After receiving and broadcasting the initial Amber Alert, what should I do for follow-up?
The Amber Alert will only be sent one time over the EAS system. We ask that for the next two hours you broadcast the information at a minimum of every 30 minutes, then once an hour for the next three hours. This is done by either taping the original message and playing it back, transcribing the information and having your personnel read it over the air, or followed up by your news department. Whatever method you may use, it is important that the information be aired in the early hours of the abduction. After the 5 hour period has ended, the Amber Alert will be completed and any additional coverage will be purely at the stations option as a part of normal news and information programming.
What if my station is unmanned when an Amber Alert is issued?
Since the initial alert will come via an EAS CAE activation, the alert will override your normal programming just like a weather warning would do currently. (This assumes that when you operate unmanned you leave your EAS 10-13-5-8.5). Once the EAS alert terminates it is up to you to decide how to staff your station to start the once-per-half-hour update. Remember, these are not required, just highly recommended.
Once the EAS activation occurs, where do I go to get the necessary information to follow the Amber Alert procedures?
You will have several options of where to get the very specific Amber Alert data. Stations may choose from the following resources.
- Transcribe the information from your EAS receiver. Most receivers store the last message received.
- Go to www.amberalertindiana.com website. The information will be available in printable form there.
- Your news wire service (AP, Network Indiana, etc.) will be provided with the information directly from the IASAC via broadcast fax.
- A fax will be sent to the designated EAS fax number at your station directly from IASAC.
- An e-mail will be generated from the IBA website to all participating stations listed in the on-line database for Amber Alerts (www.indianabroadcasters.org).
There are times during the day that we do not have personnel at the station. How can we broadcast an Amber Alert during those times?
Your EAS receiver is programmable to automatically interrupt your on-the-air programming. We suggest you use this process.
What should the station tell a citizen that calls to report the sighting of the possible abductor during an active Amber Alert?
The station should direct the citizen to call: 1-888-58AMBER.
When is an Amber Alert terminated?
An Amber Alert runs for 5 hours from the initial EAS alert. The first few hours are the most crucial. Under normal circumstances, the Amber Alert should be considered complete 5 hours after the initial EAS activation. The two exceptions to this rule would be if the IASAC receiver’s enough new or updated information to issue a new EAS activation. The process starts over from that time. The other exception would occur if the IASAC was to determine that conditions warranted an early termination. Stations would receive a fax advising the case has been resolved and the Amber Alert notification would be removed from the state’s Amber Alert website.
STATIONS SHOULD NOT REPORT THE TERMINATION OF AN AMBER ALERT UNTIL NOTIFIED OF TERMINATION BY THE INDIANA AMBER and SILVER ALERT CENTER (IASAC).