Second emergency alert to wireless devices test today
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Emergency Management BC this morning announced that at 1:55 p.m. today (Nov. 28), a test of the new wireless alerting system will be conducted for a second time as part of the national Alert Ready system to improve public safety in the event of emergency.
The announcement did not make clear which time zone, but it is certainly Pacific, meaning the warning should happen at 2:55 p.m. Mountain for those in the East Kootenay.
“The key to emergency alerting is to reach as many people on as many communication platforms as possible,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The addition of emergency alerts on wireless devices is another valuable way to reach out to the public in an emergency. These alerts will be issued alongside routine television and radio tests as an added complement to these and other emergency alerting mediums already in use.”
The expansion of the existing radio and television alerting system to include cellular devices was launched in B.C. on April 6, and an initial test was conducted on May 9. Emergency Management BC is responsible for issuing emergency notifications on the Alert Ready system in the province and will initially use wireless alerting for tsunami threats only, with plans to expand to other emergencies and hazards in the future.
“Alerts can provide valuable information and notice, but individuals also have to do their part,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “As you ensure your devices have up-to-date software and are compatible for the alerts, also take the time to prepare your emergency kit and create a plan for hazards.”
The emergency alerts will be issued, alongside routine television and radio tests, to compatible wireless devices, such as smartphones.
The test message will read: “This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is ONLY a TEST. If this had been an actual emergency or threat, you would now hear instructions that would assist you to protect you and your family. For further information go to www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca. This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required.”
To receive alerts, mobile phones must be connected to a cellular network, be alert compatible, be within the alert area and have up-to-date cellular software. Alerts will be broadcast automatically, at no cost to the user. Wireless compatibility information is available at: www.alertready.ca
The National Public Alerting System, publicly branded as Alert Ready, is a collaborative initiative between federal-provincial-territorial governments and industry partners. It provides a standard alerting capability to rapidly warn the public of imminent or unfolding hazards to life.
Currently, in accordance with a 2014 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision, all radio and television broadcasters in Canada are mandated to broadcast public alerts. On April 6, 2017, the CRTC mandated wireless service providers be capable of sending wireless public alerts in Canada by April 6.
To find out if a wireless device is compatible with the Alert Ready system, visit: www.alertready.ca