A Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially senior citizens diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities – to aid in their being located safely. In addition, persons with any cognitive disability, regardless of age, fall within the criteria of the Silver Alert.
Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets – such as commercial radio stations and television stations – 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 persons. In cases in which a missing person is believed to be 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.
A Silver Alert can be activated for a missing person when:
- Police have taken a missing persons report and exhausted all other resources.
- The person is in imminent danger due to health or other issues.
- The missing person is age 65 or older, or, the person has been diagnosed with any cognitive disability (regardless of age).
Silver Alert information will also be issued to the media, including social media, for further dissemination to the public.