Alert Fatigue

Alert Fatigue is the name some researchers give to a proposed phenomenon where the public begins to ignore alerts because there are too many of them.

Our rationale is the following

  1. The Silver Alert is a small regional alert, and does not interrupt radio and TV broadcasts like the Amber Alert. We do not believe it will “dilute” the effectiveness of that system, which is designed for missing abducted children.
  2. The goal of a Silver Alert is to publicize a missing person’s description and last known position on local media. transit, social media and other “passive” channels so that the information about the missing person is available to the public. Many of these cases are not considered “newsworthy” until it is too late.
  3. The Silver Alert will not be common because we also believe in wandering prevention, and other ways to prevent someone from going missing.

Some research into alert fatigue indicates that the number of alerts at which people begin to be unable to recall information starts at one or two a day, based on health care workers. The Silver Alert might involve 5-10 alerts per year for our area.

We are confident that they will not have a negative effect on other alerting systems.