Look for Longer Amber Alerts Now

COLUMBUS, Ohio (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Amber Alerts you receive on your phone may be more extensive now.

If you have a newer phone, the Ohio Amber Alert Advisory Committee says the system can now transmit 360-character messages.

The limit used to be 90 characters.

Not all wireless carriers may be providing the additional service.

Here’s a release from the State Highway Patrol:

The Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee is announcing a recent change to how the public will receive notifications when Ohio’s AMBER Alert system is activated. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), which are emergency messages that are broadcast to enabled mobile devices, are now capable of transmitting 360-character text messages in addition to the traditional 90-character text messages. This change is due to increased technology by both wireless carriers and wireless device manufacturers.

Traditional 90-character messages are limited to including basic vehicle information and notification for device users to check local media outlets for additional details. The increase in characters allows public safety officials to provide more in-depth details on the suspect(s), victim(s), vehicle(s), and other urgent information when an AMBER Alert is activated. Furthermore, the changes enable a URL that redirects the device user to Ohio’s AMBER Alert website or other social media for additional information. Once redirected, the user will be able to see all information regarding the AMBER Alert as well as any available photos.

An important fact to remember is that some older wireless devices or certain wireless carriers may only allow devices to receive 90-character messages. Both a 90-character message and a 360-character message will be sent out during an AMBER Alert notification; however, users will only receive the version of the alert supported by their device and carrier. Devices that are not capable of receiving the new 360-character message will automatically receive the default 90-character message as they have in the past.