Thursday, September 24, 2009

Silver Alert

Saturday morning as I was driving down to Charlotte for my day of fun at Carowinds I noticed something that struck me as odd. I noticed it several times as I drove down the interstate. You know those electronic signs that flash alerts from the Dept. of Transportation? Every one I saw that day had a Silver Alert flashed on it. The only other information given told drivers to dial 511 for more information.

I was extremely curious, but not curious enough to dial 511. I don't know what 511 is. What if it's like calling 411 and I get charged 75 cents? What if someone took over the controls for those electronic boards and dialing 511 would really connect me to someone in Barbados, charging me crazy amounts of international rates on my cell phone.

So I didn't call 511. Instead, once I got to Carowinds and had time to kill, I called my sister. My hope was that she either knew what a Silver Alert was or was near her computer so she could check out Wikipedia. Neither of those things turned out to be true. So then I called my Mom, hoping for the same results I had hoped for with April. No dice.

Eventually I made it home and I got to my computer. I looked up the Silver Alert my own self. Turns out it's a lot like the Amber Alert, but it's for senior citizens. It's especially for seniors with dementia or mental illness who may have wandered off or gone missing.

Apparently it's a national thing. Most states have their own system for the Silver Alerts and it has been proven as an effective tool in helping to find and return missing persons. Good idea Oklahoma state Representative Fred Perry.

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