Know What the Alert Colors Mean – Community Alerts

Highway Alert System


A technician that purchases his commercial compressors from us called us recently while on the road to order a York JG. While driving he noticed one of the alerts on the digital billboard that struck up a conversation about the various meanings of the different color codes and their meaning.  There are several programs to spread the word about missing persons. Being vigilant at the right time can save someone’s life. To do that, it helps to understand what all the different alert colors mean. Precisely what should you watch out for in each case? The conversation with the technician inspired this blog. 

Let’s take a closer look at the different alert colors and what they mean:

Amber (AMBER) Alert

The Amber Alert program is the best-known missing persons program in the United States. Originating in Texas in 2002, versions of it have been adopted from coast to coast. The purpose of the Amber Alert system is to locate victims of child abduction and safely reunite them with their loved ones.

Amber Alerts are issued for children aged 17 and younger whose whereabouts are not known.

To be valid, law enforcement must determine the circumstances of the disappearance were not willing and pose a risk to the child’s health and safety. Alerts can be issued for children 13 and younger taken without permission, whether willing or unwilling. This is common in cases of parental abduction.

Amber Alerts can be sent through SMS text messaging, radio alerts, and digital billboards.

Silver Alert

Texas Silver Alerts went live for the first time in 2007. Silver Alerts focus on helping seniors aged 65 or older, as well as younger seniors who have Alzheimer’s Disease. Seniors who “wander” because of cognitive impairment can become lost, disoriented, and forget how to reach home. They may also be at risk from criminals.

Silver Alerts are issued when a senior who meets the criteria disappears and a law enforcement investigation determines the disappearance was caused by mental impairment. Additional resources such as highway signs can be activated if it is confirmed that the senior was driving a known vehicle at the time.

Blue Alert

Blue Alerts are issued to the public to warn about violent offenders who have killed or seriously injured any law enforcement officer. A description of the offender’s vehicle or its tag or partial tag must be available to make an announcement to the public. This facilitates tips without encouraging confrontation.

In cases of a Blue Alert, the relevant law enforcement agency has determined that the offender is a serious threat to the public and other law enforcement staff. They then coordinate with the Texas Department of Public Safety to activate a Blue Alert so members of the public can call in with information.

Endangered Missing Persons Alert

An Endangered Missing Persons Alert is similar to a Silver Alert. It alerts the public to individuals with severe cognitive or intellectual impairment who may be in an unsafe environment. Missing persons of any age who have a diagnosed intellectual disability are eligible for an Endangered Missing Persons Alert.

Endangered Missing Persons Alerts are issued within 72 hours of a disappearance upon an investigation that rules out other potential reasons for the disappearance and confirms a potential danger. For an alert to be made, there must be sufficient information to provide to the public that may assist in finding the person.

Camo Alert

Experts estimate the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in recent military veterans may be as high as 30%. People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence than to initiate it. In some cases, though, service members with mental health concerns could pose a threat to themselves and the public.

Texas instituted its Camo Alert program in 2019 to notify the public about current or former military personnel who are missing. Personnel must register for the program in advance to be eligible. A physician or psychologist must verify that the person suffers from a mental illness or traumatic brain injury.

Clear (CLEAR) Alert

CLEAR Alert is a specialized Texas state program to assist missing adults who are not eligible for help under the other programs. Recognizing the dangers that can be faced by adult Texans throughout their lives, the Clear Alert “fills the gap” between the Amber Alert and Silver Alert programs.

Individuals 18 to 64 years of age whose current whereabouts are unknown are eligible for the program. A law enforcement investigation must make a preliminary finding that the disappearance was against the subject’s will or may lead to imminent harm. Alerts must be issued within 72 hours of the disappearance.

Keep these alert color codes in mind while driving to pick up your commercial compressor, parts, or provide service  – they just might make a big difference!


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