An Endangered Missing Advisory (EMA) is a tool that gives law enforcement a formal action plan to safely recover a child that is missing under suspicious circumstances, however, the agency determines that all of the AMBER Alert criteria has not been met. It also provides a way to help recover missing adults in cases where no systematic recovery plan exists.

An EMA is designed to provide a rapid response to safely recover missing persons who may be in danger. Many missing children do not fit the criteria for an AMBER Alert but may, nonetheless, be endangered.

There are guidelines for EMA activation; however, not all the following needs to be met:

  • Do the circumstances fail to meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert?
  • Is the person missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances?
  • Is the person believed to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, and the environment or weather conditions; is he or she in the company of a potentially dangerous person; or is there any other factor that may put the person in peril?
  • Is there information that could assist the public in the safe recovery of the missing person?

Once it is determined the case meets the above criteria, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will activate an EMA utilizing the following systems:
  • CHP will issue Be-On-the-Lookouts.
  • CHP will post the alert on its website www.chp.ca.gov.
  • CHP will send out flyers to law enforcement agencies and businesses throughout California and surrounding states.
  • California Department of Transportation will distribute the alerts on Changeable Message Signs (CMS), and Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) transmitters.
  • Media outlets will also post alerts on their websites.
  • NCMEC will disseminate the alerts through secondary distributors, i.e. Internet providers, Facebook, trucking associations, airport security etc.
  • Numerous private businesses have agreed to put the alerts on their electronic signs.


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