Last night the entire Las Vegas Valley was woken up multiple times by Emergency "Amber Alert" messages. My Emergency Alert messages came in on my phone at 3:35am, 3:38am, 3:46am, 4:39am.
My phone was on silent, yet buzzed loud and long, which woke me up. FOUR TIMES!
It's great that it woke me up, but did they really have to message the entire Las Vegas area? For something that it turned out they weren't even close on the location?
The cryptic messages generically informed there was an "Amber Alert in this area". What does "this area" mean? My block in my neighborhood? My community? My city? My state?
I was confused and groggy. I was so out of it I could barely even remember what an "Amber Alert" was. I had to google "Amber Alert" just to remember.
What made things worse was the message on my phone was cut off with no way to see the rest of the message. And the Emergency Alert instructed to monitor Radio and TV, as though there's an OJ Simpson type chase going on.
First, who has a radio anymore?
Second, I was too tired (I have a special needs 3 year old and I NEED sleep) to get out of bed and check TV, but I'm betting there was no news coverage being broadcast.
Third, I decided to check the internet, and I didn't find anything. I even searched for the websites of the local news to see if they had anything posted.
I check the camera in my son's room to see him sleeping and figured the dog would warn me if anything happened near the house, and so I went back to sleep.
Finally, when the third message came in that the suspects were "armed and dangerous" I was forced to wake up and make sure this wasn't happening in my backyard and that my family wasn't in danger.
Still nothing was popping up on local news channel's websites or in a Google news search.
I got lucky when I searched Facebook for "Amber Alert Las Vegas" and one guy had posted publicly with a link that at least had some info about what was happening.
I followed his link to see some info, but it didn't say anything current about what was happening.
Figuring this guy likely wasn't in my immediate area, I decided this message went out to the entire Las Vegas area and my family wasn't in immediate danger. I checked my son's camera and I worked on getting back to sleep.
Luckily, just after I did fall back asleep they send another alert that woke me up a fourth time to let me know the Emergency Alert was cancelled and the subjects were found absolutely no where near our area. Thanks. I appreciate that Emergency Alert people.
Checking Facebook again when my son woke me up for breakfast I confirmed that this message did go out to the entire Las Vegas area. I'm willing to bet most of the Las Vegas area is a little groggy and cranky today after losing sleep last night.
It also seems that the alerts worked and the authorities caught the perpetrators. That's awesome!
Here are some links to the resolution of this story
But what is this technology? Is it left over from when text messaging first started on rotary telephones? They couldn't include a link to a website with more information so I'm woken into a state of panic with no simple resolution? Why isn't there a default website for Emergency issues like this? Or is there?
If you know more, please comment with any information so hopefully next time this happens, this article can help point to some information website that is always up to date.