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Lawmakers Consider Naming Endangered Person Advisory 'Silver Alert'

We often hear of patients with dementia who wander from home or their nursing facilities. In Washington when they can’t be found, authorities can use what’s called an “Endangered Missing Person’s Advisory” to notify people of the disappearance.

Now, state lawmakers in Oregon and Washington are considering whether to change the name of that advisory to something more attention getting: “Silver Alert.” Supporters say the name change could help find the endangered person faster.

But TV and radio stations are skeptical.

“Our concern is that renaming this as a silver alert will be very confusing to the public," says the Washington State Association of Broadcasters' Mark Allen. "They will automatically think this is only for senior citizens regardless of what it says in the statute.”

Silver Alerts would apply to missing people of all ages, not just the elderly.

The current endangered person advisory is designed for those who don’t meet the criteria for Washington’s Amber Alert System. That’s for youth 17 and younger who are believed to be in immediate harm.