The AMBER Alert system is set up to quickly disseminate information regarding child abductions in the US and Canada. Once the authorities have confirmed an abduction, there is a three-hour window to get the information out there; once that interval has passed, there is a roll-off in the effectiveness of efforts to make a recovery.
AMBER Alerts are broadcast via TV, radio, and even on electronic road signs in some areas. You can also sign up to receive them via SMS text message on your mobile phone. Go to WirelessAmberAlerts.org and enter your cell phone number. You'll be asked about the area for which you want to receive alerts—you can enter up to five ZIP codes—and that's it. There are somewhere around 200 to 250 AMBER Alerts generated each year, so if one goes out that affects your area, you'll be notified. This service is available on most carriers, and there is not supposed to be any charge for receiving messages of this type, regardless of your messaging plan.