Last Saturday at 1 a.m., people across the state of Vermont were woken up by an ear-piercing alarm on their cellphones. “There is an Amber Alert in effect in your area,” a message on the screen read. But it didn’t say where, exactly, and it didn’t give any information as to the who, what or why.

And so last Saturday at 1 a.m., people across the state of Vermont went back to sleep feeling very unsettled and very worried and possibly having nightmares involving children being abducted. A few hours later an update to the Amber Alert again lit up cellphones with the name of the town from which it was issued (Fayston) and the make, model and license plate of a vehicle.

Vermont State Police later that day issued a report that the child was located unharmed near Syracuse, New York, and that two Vermonters had been arrested. They said the Amber Alert directly contributed to the successful recovery of the child, as someone in New York saw it posted on a digital sign on the highway and later saw the car and called 911.

It’s incredible to us that technology has come so far that the police have a way to immediately contact almost everyone in the state, but the notification system still has some kinks.

While the Amber Alert that went out to cellphones in Vermont provided little to no information, the one that went out in New York gave background on the suspects and context for the case, which was related to a custody fight involving the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF).

We could have used some of that information last Saturday.

We don’t mind being woken up in the middle of the night on the off chance that we can help save someone from a potentially dangerous situation. But getting woken up and feeling not only scared but confused and completely powerless is a different story.

Thankfully, Vermont State Police has been responsive to residents’ concerns regarding the most recent Amber Alert and is holding a meeting this Thursday, September 10, to investigate what went right and wrong with the last case and how it can improve the notification system for the future.