On Wednesday May 5, 2021 at 1:55pm (PDT), 2:55 pm (MDT), Emergency Management BC conducted a test of the Alert Ready system.
Alert Ready is a Canada-wide system that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters, as well as compatible wireless devices. This system is only used during large-scale disasters or emergencies where loss of life is possible or imminent.
During the test, the public heard this alert tone, along with the message below, on radio and TV. They could also hear or see the message on radio, TV and compatible wireless devices. If your device was configured to receive a vibration or other alert, rather than a tone, you would have received the test warning that way.
“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 see or 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.”
Messages delivered through Alert Ready will not replace existing notification methods via web and social media (Emergency Info BC & @EmergencyInfoBC), the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS) or other warning functions provided by local authorities, First Nations and related agencies.
What I Need to Know:
What is Alert Ready?
- Alert Ready is a Canada-wide system that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue emergency alerts.
- You can currently expect to receive alerts via Canadian radio and TV, as well as cable and satellite operators.
- Alerts will only be issued to affected regions or areas within BC; however, some alerts could be issued province-wide or affect more than one region.
- For a schedule of alerts go to: https://www.alertready.ca/#alerts
Will this replace EmergencyInfoBC, the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS) or other emergency notification functions?
- Alert Ready complements, not replaces, emergency alerting already provided by EMBC.
Will I receive an emergency alert on my phone?
- Yes; however, for emergency alerts to be received on a wireless device, the device must be:
- A smartphone that is configured for an LTE (or 4G) network for high-speed wireless communication;
- Wireless public alerting compatible;
- Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued; and
- Within the emergency alert area.
- To find out if your phone is compatible, visit Alert Ready.
- In advance of the test, some carriers may do silent tests of their systems to make sure everything is working. Depending on your phone’s settings you may receive an early alert without sound.
The alert may say “Presidential Alert.” Why?
- Wireless public alerts use an international standard and a broadcast channel that is often called “Presidential Alert” in the United States. In Canada, governments and private sector partners have agreed to the term “EMERGENCY ALERT / ALERTE D’URGENCE”, as outlined in version 2.0 of the National Public Alerting System Common Look and Feel Guidance. However, some phones may pre-date this guidance, were purchased outside of Canada, or were manufactured to be compatible with the U.S. Wireless Emergency Alerts system. These phones will use the American international standard and will display “Presidential Alert”, or another non-Canadian headline banner.
Do I have to subscribe to Alert Ready?
- Alerts will be broadcast without a subscription and at no cost. This will ensure the maximum number of people receive alerts.
What hazards will I be alerted to?
- At this time in BC, the system will only be used in the event of a potential tsunami, an Amber Alert or a civil emergency. A civil emergency is a police incident that may require the quick dissemination of information for public safety.
What should I do if I see or hear an emergency alert that doesn’t say “TEST”?
- When you receive an emergency alert, it is important to act, but safely. Stop what you are doing and read the alert. Information or directions could include taking shelter, limiting travel or evacuating an area.
- If safe to do so, seek additional credible information from officials in your community.
- Unless you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency do not call 911 for information related to an alert.
How will I know when an alert had ended?
- An “all clear” message may be issued once the situation has been resolved. The “all clear” message could be distributed via radio and television stations at their discretion but will not be sent to wireless devices.
How often will the system be tested?
- Tests will be conducted throughout the year. Dates and times will be advertised.
- For the current schedule of test alerts go to: https://www.alertready.ca/#alerts.
Can I provide input on the Alert Ready test?
- British Columbians can participate in a short online survey following the test to help determine the reach of the Alert Ready test. This survey is administered by Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc (PEASI).
- Survey link in English: https://peasi.com/emergency-alert-test-survey.html
- Survey link in French: https://peasi.com/enquete-de-test-dalerte-durgence.html