FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Jan. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 20 years ago, nine-year old Amber Hagerman was abducted in front of her family's home in Arlington, Texas, and subsequently found murdered days later. The day that commemorates the tragedy, AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert Awareness Day, reminds people to keep child safety top of mind. In recognition of this day, Smart911, the national public safety service, encourages parents and child caregivers to keep the following tips in mind to better protect their children.
- Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it's okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
- Determine a "safe" password with your children. If you ever need to send someone with whom they are unfamiliar to pick them up or when an emergency occurs, they can ask that person for the password to ensure it is safe to go with them.
- Be aware of how much information about your child is publicly available. Any details about them, including name, address or school, should never be shared on social media.
- Do not visibly write your children's names on their clothing, backpacks or toys.
- If your child should go missing, it is crucial to call 91-1 immediately; the first hour is the most critical when trying to locate a missing child.
- Create a free, private and secure Safety Profile for your household at www.smart911.com which can include current photos and physical descriptions of your children. If a child goes missing and 9-1-1 is called, their Safety Profile will be displayed to the dispatcher allowing them to share the child's photo and description to responders in the field immediately. Normally, when a child is reported missing it can take hours just to obtain the necessary information from a frantic parent for authorities to begin the search.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have AMBER Alert plans in place to help find missing children in danger. The Alerts are generally issued for 100 miles from the site of an abduction, which is based upon the distance a car can travel in an hour.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States -- approximately 2,000 per day. However, AMBER Alert's missing child bulletins greatly assist public safety officials in locating missing children. To date, the alerts have been instrumental in 758 successful recoveries.
Smart911 Safety Profiles that include details of children can be tremendously helpful to public safety officials in the event a child goes missing.
"We had two cases in two days recently in Maumelle, AR in which parents called to report their child missing. One child had autism and the other Down syndrome," said Randie Jones, 911 coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. "Thankfully, both families had already created a Safety Profile, which appeared immediately to the dispatchers on each call and included a photo and description of the missing children. Because the dispatchers had these details the response process was greatly sped up. Both children were found unharmed and made it home safely."
A service of Rave Mobile Safety, Smart911 enhances the ability of public safety answering points (PSAPs) to more effectively respond to emergency callers. The free, secure service protects more than 31 million individuals across 40 states and handles 10 percent of 9-1-1 calls nationally. Smart911 has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations across the U.S., including the case in Arkansas, and saving lives, such as a heart attack victim in Nashville, a victim of assault in Michigan as well as a house fire victim in Michigan.
"Every parent or child care taker has the same fears about the horrific scenario of a child going missing. If it actually occurs it is likely a parent won't be able to recall crucial details that can enable safety officials to locate a child as quickly as possible," said Tom Axbey, CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. "Spending just 20 minutes at your desk or on your mobile device to create a Smart911 Safety Profile could save your child's life."
About Rave Mobile Safety
Rave Mobile Safety is the most trusted software partner for campus and public safety. Used by leading Institutes of Higher Education and State and Local Agencies, the award-winning portfolio of Rave SafeCampus, RaveAlert, RaveGuardian, Eyewitness, Smart911 and SmartPrepare enables millions to feel safe, secure and connected. Rave Mobile Safety is headquartered in Framingham, Mass. For more information please visit www.ravemobilesafety.com.
Public Relations for Rave Mobile Safety