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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Florida Silver Alert Moves Closer

June 5, 2008
Bilirakis Blog

One day after he brought together state legislators and local elderly and Alzheimer's advocates to discuss the urgent need for a Silver Alert system in Florida, Gus gained the support of every member of Florida's congressional delegation for his own Silver Alert bill (H.R. 5898).

In March, the Tampa Tribune wrote...

Florida has more people 65 and older than any other state but hasn't jumped on the bandwagon of the Silver Alert, a system like Amber Alert that spreads word broadly and quickly when someone disappears...Florida has no plans to implement a Silver Alert system, said David Bruns of the Florida chapter of AARP in Tallahassee.

The St. Pete Times wrote today...

According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 300,000 Floridians with the disease will wander away. Wanderers often get disoriented and most are found within 5 miles. Of those not found within 24 hours, half will be seriously injured or die.

Clearly understanding this growing problem in Florida, plans now seem to be in motion to introduce a bill creating a notification system during the State's next legislative session.

During Tuesday's press conference, Florida Reps. Kurt Kelly (R-Ocala) and Tom Anderson (R-Dunedin) announced their intention to move a bill when the legislature resumes its work in Tallahassee.

Rep. Kelly told the Ocala Star-Banner today...

"Florida needs a Silver Alert system that will protect our most vulnerable citizens - persons with dementia...The Florida Silver Alert system will not only save law enforcement manpower and time, but most importantly, it will save lives."

Yesterday, the Tribune gave a good description what a Florida Silver Alert system might look like...

The Silver Alert would be patterned after the national Amber Alert system, which quickly distributes information about kidnapped children and their abductors to the public via radio, television and electronic highway signs.

In the Tampa Bay area, many of the tools are already in place. The electronic signs such as those along Interstate-275, the Veterans Expressway and Dale Mabry Highway that are used to post Amber Alerts could also be used to post Silver alerts.

To learn more about Gus's Silver Alert bill, check the Silver Alert Grant Program Act Resource Page.