Did You Get An Amber Alert On Your Cell Phone Monday Night?

Cell phone users will receive Amber Alerts and other emergency alerts in their coverage area, unless they choose to opt out.

James Lee DiMaggio (left) is suspected of kidnapping Ethan Anderson and Hannah Anderson.
James Lee DiMaggio (left) is suspected of kidnapping Ethan Anderson and Hannah Anderson.
I was sitting home alone Monday night, enjoying a rare S.F. Giants win, when my iPhone did something new and unexpected.

It suddenly burst to life and the Emergency Broadcast System siren, or whatever that squawk is officially called, screamed from the phone's speakers. There was a message on the screen about an Amber Alert, and the make, model, and license plate of a car. 

This was new and scary because it was so very unexpected. How in the world did the Amber Alert people get my cell phone number? And how did they get that noise to come out of my phone? I have never signed up for alerts like that. 

A man allegedly murdered a woman and kidnapped her children. Police thought he might either be heading for Texas or Canada, so they issued an Amber Alert throughout the state.

Turns out, according to LAist, that the cell phone alert is part of a federal program operated the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

For many, it was the first time receiving such a thing. And it was jarring. 

You have the ability to turn it off if you like, which is a nice option. But given the state of things these days, I think I'll keep mine on. If there is an emergency I need to know about, I sure won't miss it with all that racket coming out of my phone.

By the way, be on the lookout for a blue Nissan Versa with the California license plate 6WCU986. DiMaggio is believed to be driving a car matching that description.

Did your phone get an Amber Alert?   
Virginia Jenkins August 07, 2013 at 11:27 AM
I'm impressed - thought my smoke alarm was going off. Great way to notify people of possible danger, e.g., tornadoes? Hope they find the guy and the girl.
Kelly August 07, 2013 at 01:20 PM
I'm all for the Amber Alert system on TV, radio, freeway billboards, etc, but this should not have automatically been sent to phones without warning. I received the same alert several times in the middle of the night and it scared the crap out of me every time it went off (my phone was on silent and it still came through). If you have an iphone, you can turn it off by going to "settings/notifications/government alerts."
Becky August 07, 2013 at 01:32 PM
That's amazing that the alert can override the silent setting.
Crowley August 07, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Thank you, Kelly. I had checked under Notifications, but I hadn't scrolled all the way to the bottom to see the Government Alerts in its own section.


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