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Teach Your Children How To Protect Themselves From Abduction

Wednesday, Jan. 13 marked the 20th anniversary of AMBER Alert Awareness Day, which commemorates the day 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bicycle in front of her family’s home in Arlington, Texas. She was found murdered four days later.

In recognition of this day, the York County Board of Commissioners and York County 911 offer the following tips to help keep children safe:

  • Tell children not to talk or interact with people they don’t know. Children should check with a parent or trusted adult immediately if approached by someone unfamiliar.
  • Avoid allowing your child to be alone outside the home. Children should walk to and from school and bus stops in groups. Work with neighbors in the area to create a plan for children to walk together.
  • Children should never get into the car with someone they don’t know.
  • Teach children that unfamiliar adults should never need help from a child – not to find a lost animal or for anything else. Children should consider such a request to be a warning sign that prompts them to seek out a parent or trusted adult.
  • Be careful about your child’s Internet and social media use. Remind them to never give out personal information. Don’t post identifying information or pictures of your children online.
  • Create a free, private and secure Safety Profile for your household at www.smart911.com that can include current photos and physical descriptions of your children. If a child goes missing and a family member calls 911, their Safety Profile will be displayed to the dispatcher allowing them to quickly share the child’s photo and description to responders in the field.

The first few hours after a child is abducted are crucial. When a child is reported missing it can take valuable time to find and distribute a current photo to law enforcement officers in the field. Smart911 can help expedite the process and is available to all York County residents through York County 911, which encourages all families to take advantage of the free, secure service by signing up today at smart911.com.

A mother in Arkansas experienced the benefits offered by Smart911 when she received a call that her daughter did not get off the bus at daycare. Frantic, she dialed 911 and her family’s Smart911 Safety Profile appeared, including her daughter’s photo and description. The call-taker was able to use that information to send deputies to the scene immediately.

The actual 911 call can be heard here: https://safety.smart911.com/smart911-missing-child-call.

“Having a child go missing can be terrifying - you may not be able to think straight, remember critical information or even communicate effectively,” said York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. “Smart911 can have a dramatic impact on these situations. We encourage families to be proactive about safety and sign up today”

Smart911 is currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities. It has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations and saving lives across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, a heart attack victim in Tennessee and a man trapped in a house fire in Michigan.

As a national service, any time a person with a Smart911 Safety Profile dials 911 in any location in the U.S. that supports Smart911, their profile will automatically appear to dispatchers allowing for more information to be available at the time of an emergency.

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