Lisa Conway – Hometown News

Q:  What do flashing “Silver Alert” highway signs mean?

A:  Silver Alert Criteria

-The person must be 60 years or older.

-Law enforcement must determine that highway message signs may be the only possible means of rescue.

-The person must have an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties ie: Alzheimers disease or other verified dementia.

Local/regional activation

According to the Florida Silver Alert plan, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Local law enforcement must investigate and conclude the disappearance poses a credible threat to the person’s welfare.
  2. Local law enforcement must enter the missing person into the Florida Crime Information Center and issue a BOLO (Be on the Lookout).
  3. Local law enforcement must contact media outlets in the area and/or surrounding jurisdictions.

If the senior is still not located, the local agency may request the statewide activation of highway dynamic message signs –a State Silver Alert.

State Silver Alert

In addition to the criteria for the local Silver Alert, the missing person must have been traveling by motor vehicle at the time of their disappearance –with identifiable vehicle information. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement then works with local authorities to determine areas for activation. Only law enforcement can request a Silver Alert.

A Missing Person’s report should always be filed in person at your local police or sheriff’s department. In addition to a description, provide a recent photo. After filing, request the case number, the assigned officer’s name and direct contact information. Then, you may also call Florida’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 1-888-FL-MISSING.

When a senior goes missing, the experience can be frightening for the individual and their family. The Florida Silver Alert helps ensure the speediest return possible, by enlisting the aid of all who see it.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.comLisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.