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Nobody likes to think the worst could happen, but what happens if it does and you are not prepared? As a wife, step-mom and until a few months ago, a caregiver to an elderly father, I could not imagine how it would feel if someone I loved were to go missing. That is why when I was offered a subscription to Family Search Alert for review, I jumped on the chance. Family Search Alert is a service that uses Facebook, Twitter, text messages, land lines, cell phones and faxes to immediately notify family members and friends through out your social network of your lost family member whether it be your spouse, elderly parent, child or pet. The police are also notified, and they can print out a missing persons flyer.
There are two types of alerts in the Family Search Alert system. A Yellow Alert allows you to compose the message that is sent to your contacts via sent e-mails, texts, Facebook messages and Twitter tweets. You choose who to contact, and which methods to use to get the message out. This is used in a situation where you do not feel the need to alert the police, but are still quite concerned. For instance, the family pet is missing, or your son is late coming home from football practice. With the Yellow Alert, everyone you and your son knows will be aware that you are looking for him. In the case of a missing pet, you can print flyers for distribution (premium subscription plan only), as well as have your pet’s vet and local animal hospital and shelter as contacts to be notified.
The Red Alert is for emergency situations only where the local or state police need to be notified. In this alert, every form of communication is utilized. In addition to e-mails, texts and Facebook and Twitter posts, automated phone and cell phone calls and faxes will be used. The automated message will read, “A RED ALERT HAS BEEN ISSUED for [child’s name]. ONLY if you have information, please call [customer name] ASAP.” The police are able to access your account using your e-mail address and special 4 digit code in order to utilize information pertinent to your case, and have the information needed to be able quickly print Missing Person flyers. The Red Alert is obviously used for real emergencies and is not available for your pets.
The system is easy to use and it takes very little time to set up. You will fill out information on each individual family member including parents, children and even pets. For each family member you fill in a complete physical description that includes hair color, eye color, height, weight, any identifying marks and more. You then have the option to upload a color photograph. You will also fill in contact information for everyone you want to be notified in case an Alert is issued. This will include your contact’s home phone, cell phone and e-mail address. Be sure all your contact’s information is up-to-date.
Two types of plans are available through Family Search Alert. The Basic Plan is free to everyone and includes the Yellow Alerts. This plan utilizes text messaging, e-mail and social networking to notify your contacts.
The premium Family Search Alert plan includes both the Yellow and Red Alerts. This plan utilizes everything the basic plan does plus automated phone calls, cell phone calls, faxes and the ability to print flyers. The premium plan costs only $24.99 a year.
However, Bullock’s Buzz readers, for the next 30 days only you can get your first year of service for the reduced price of $19.99 by using the special code Bullock99. Remember, this code is valid for the next 30 days only (until April 18, 2013).
Why take any chances? Family Search Alert is something every family needs to consider signing up for because it will not cost you anything, and will provide you with priceless peace of mind!
Do keep in mind, in the case of an emergency where your loved one is missing, your first step should always be to contact the police. Family Search Alert is a time-saving tool which helps you to quickly provide the police with the necessary information so you are not wasting precious minutes searching for current pictures and trying to remember specific details. It is not meant to replace, nor is it in anyway associated with the Federal Amber Alert. Only the police can issue an Amber Alert.