Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Silver Alert.

Read the Wikipedia article for a good summary of what a silver alert is, and read our explanation here. Silver Alerts are common in the United States and is being developed in Ontario.

Q: Why do we need the Silver Alert?

People are living longer, and the population with dementia is growing. People with dementia wander, and if they are not found within 24 hours their chance of survival drops quickly. There is no system in place to notify the public of an urgent missing person.

Q: What is a Citizen’s Silver Alert

A citizen’s silver alert is our attempt to reproduce the urgency and utility of alerting the public to vulnerable missing people who might otherwise come to harm if not found quickly.

Q: How do you decide on when you should issue a silver alert.

We use missing persons reports from recognized authorities, and apply criteria that existing Silver Alert systems have used elsewhere in North America.

Q: How is this different from an official Silver Alert

A public safety agency has access to technology and resources that a citizens Silver Alert cannot reproduce. Our effort here does not replace a real, enterprise strength solution for urgent public alerts. Technologies like SMS alerting and geographic alerting can be used for Silver Alerts and other dangerous conditions like chemical leaks, tsunamis, and earthquakes. For more information, look at the North SHore Emergency Management Office’s Rapid Notify Alerting System.

Q: What about Alert Fatigue? Won’t people start ignoring alerts?

We address alert fatigue in the following post.

Q: What about GPS Tracking? Won’t that fix everything?

GPS tracking, and wandering prevention technology is fallible. Even institutional settings have failures of this technology; in a recent case a woman left a care home with systems in place to prevent her leaving, and died as a result. The systems require constant maintenance, and need to be “locked” to the person’s wrist. People with dementia can cut them off, batteries can fail, and the system could break down in numerous other ways.

Q: Can I report someone missing to you?

NO. Report missing people to the police.

In British Columbia, dial 911. A missing person with dementia is an emergency. DO NOT WAIT 24 HOURS.

Q: How can I support your efforts

You can subscribe to alerts. You can call your MLA or your municipal representatives and ask that they support the Silver Alert. You can donate to support this web site and the service we’re providing.