Phoenix — The Arizona’s Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) is responsible for sending emergency alert messages to the public in three critical areas: Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts and Blue Alerts. These alerts have the capability of reaching the Arizona public using two different emergency systems. The first is called the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which is used by TV and radio operators to share out emergency messages in real-time. The second is called the Wireless Emergency Alert system (WEA), which is used by cell phone companies to share out similar emergency messages in real-time.
As of September 17, 2019, the AZDPS holds the capability and processes necessary to request the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). IPAWS is a modern integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure and will save time when time matters most, while protecting life and property.
AZDPS will continue to activate WEA and send EAS activation information for all AMBER Alerts. Hereinafter, Blue Alerts will also be activated over WEA and EAS. Additionally, only Silver Alerts with imminent threat to safety or life will be activated over WEA. Otherwise, all other alert-related resources, including EAS will be utilized in Silver Alert activations.
The AZDPS Alert System broadcasts three different alerts; AMBER, Blue and Silver.
• AMBER Alerts – The Arizona AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to send out an emergency alert to the public when a child is abducted.
• Blue Alerts – A Blue Alert is activated when a suspect is at large about killing or injuring a law enforcement official and pose a threat to the public or law enforcement community.
• Silver Alerts – A Silver Alert is activated when a person with specific cognitive or developmental disabilities as defined by statute or a person over 65 goes missing. Prior to June 2018, this only applied to persons over 65.
All cell phone carriers are opted-in for these types of alerts. Arizona residents and visitors will continue to receive alerts on their cell phones if they are within the area of a WEA activation.
While cell phone customers can opt-out from receiving alerts, the alert itself is a call to the public for assistance in helping Arizona agencies locate the subjects of the alert. AZDPS asks the public to continue their critical role in helping save lives.
Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system been used more than 40,000 times to warn the public across the country about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations – all through alerts on compatible cell phones and other mobile devices.
Historically, the AZDPS requested EAS activation through KTAR News radio and WEA activation through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for AMBER Alert activation.
AZDPS now has the ability to send broadcasting agencies a direct activation request of AMBER Alerts, Blue Alerts and Silver Alerts. This allows for quicker delivery of a pre-recorded audio file that can then broadcasted by television and radio stations across Arizona (broadcaster’s discretion). Should the IPAWS system should fail, KTAR News 92.3 FM will continue to be a partner and back-up for activating the EAS alerts.