Although the broadcast community does not make the decision that an Amber Alert will be activated, radio and television stations are critical to the program’s success in saving abducted children. We recommend that each station develop a plan to coordinate the broadcast of an Alert, bringing together engineering, production/programming and news departments. Following are KAB’s suggested guidelines for broadcaster participation.
Establish an Amber Plan Response Protocol
Determine how the information in the initial Alert through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will be handled and by whom. Time is critical in child abduction cases. The more quickly the information is broadcast to the public, the chances improve significantly in apprehending the abductor and saving the child.
If an abduction occurs in your coverage area, broadcast the information in the Alert every 15 minutes in the first hour, and then every 30 minutes for at least the next three hours, unless the Alert is canceled. After four hours, stations should use their own judgment based on the facts available, about continuing to broadcast the Alert.
Broadcasters may stay abreast of breaking information about the abduction by logging onto www.ksamber.org.
EAS AMBER Alerts are preceded by the AMBER sounder. This sounder is incorporated in public service announcements and the AMBER video for public showing – so the public knows when it hears this sound, that an Amber Alert follows and they should pay close attention to the information being broadcast.
In addition to broadcasting the information during a newscast, television stations may create a crawl with the abduction information and picture of the child if it’s available. Also, if possible, incorporate in the crawl the Amber Alert graphic which KAB will make available upon request.
Prepare for community response.
There may be community pressure, not only on law enforcement, but also on broadcasters, to activate an Amber Alert. Refer viewers or listeners who request an Amber Alert, to their local law enforcement agency to report an abduction. Explain to callers that the decision to activate an Amber Alert is made only by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at the request of law enforcement, and only if very specific criteria are met.
Promote staff understanding of EAS and the Amber Plan.
All staff involved in broadcasting an Amber Alert must be aware of how EAS works and understand the format in which an Alert will be broadcast at your station. Use the training video provided to give your staff an overview about Kansas Amber Plan.
Program your EAS equipment for Amber Alerts under the Child Abduction Emergency (CAE) code.
Radio and television station EAS equipment must be programmed to receive Amber Alerts under the Child Abduction Emergency (CAE) Code. AMBER Alerts are issued statewide over EAS under the CAE Code.
Review, Sign Amber Plan Broadcast Partner Volunteer Form.
The Kansas Amber Plan is voluntary for both broadcasters and law enforcement. However, its success depends on statewide broadcaster participation. To volunteer as an Amber Plan Broadcast Partner, review the Volunteer Form, sign it and return to KAB. If you’ve already signed the form and are following the guidelines, your station is listed as a Partner on the web site: www.ksamber.org. The expectation is that stations not in the immediate area of the abduction will treat the information as a news story, while stations in the area will follow the suggested guidelines above for broadcasting Amber Alerts.
Help promote public awareness of Kansas Amber Plan.
KAB has distributed public service announcements about Kansas Amber Plan. Please schedule them on your station to help educate the public about this initiative. Station general managers also have received a video for public showing at local civic clubs, in partnership with local law enforcement. The public video is similar to the training video, but directed at the public rather than law enforcement and broadcasters. A supply of Amber Plan brochures also will be provided upon request, for distribution to the public.
THANK YOU for your help with Kansas Amber Plan – an important initiative for saving children’s lives.