COMPLETED: Test of the BC Emergency Alerting System – May 6, 2015 at13:58

Emergency Management BC is conducting a test of the BC Emergency Alerting System. This is part of  a new Canada-wide system – AlertReady – that allows government officials to issue public safety messages through major television and radio broadcasters.

During the test you’ll hear this alert on both radio and TV, followed by the message:

“Test. This is a scheduled test of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System. No action is required. This is a test of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System issued by Emergency Management BC. 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. This is only a test. No action is required.”

The purpose of this test is to ensure the broadcast system is fully functional, as well as identify any issues prior to formal implementation. Timing of implementation will depend on the outcomes of successive testing.

Messages delivered through BC’s Emergency Alerting System will augment, not replace, existing notification methods via social media (Emergency Info BC & @EmergencyInfoBC).

BC’s Emergency Alerting System: What I Need to Know

What is Alert Ready?

  • Alert Ready is a new, standardized Canada-wide program that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue emergency alerts through major television and local radio broadcasters.
  • Additional information about Alert Ready can be found on the Alert Ready website.

What is the BC Emergency Alerting System?

  • The BC Emergency Alerting System is the BC-specific name for the Alert Ready program.
  • The system will be used to interrupt television and local radio broadcasts with information on disasters and emergencies, where lives are at risk.
  • Once the system is operational, alerts will be issued only to the affected regions within BC. However, some alerts could be province-wide or for very large regions.

Will I receive an emergency alert on my phone?

  • No, not yet. Once testing is complete and the system is operational, alerts will be limited to television and local radio stations. Future system enhancements may include other methods such as cellular, SMS/text and computer or SmartPhone apps.

Will I receive an alert if I listen to satellite radio? Watch Netflix?

  •  No. You will only receive alerts on television networks and local radio stations.

Will I have to subscribe to the service?

  • Once testing is complete and the system is operational, alerts will be broadcast without a subscription and at no cost.  This will ensure the maximum number of people receive the alert immediately.

Will this replace, @EmergencyInfoBC, the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS) or other emergency notification functions?

  •  No. Public emergency alerting will complement, but not replace, emergency alerting already performed by EMBC by broadcasting intrusive alerts directly to the public.

What should I do if I see or hear an emergency alert on radio or television?

  •  Follow the instructions indicated in the message if it pertains to your situation/location. Seek more details from local media and authorities.

How will I know when an alert had ended?

  •  When the danger has passed, the system cannot be used to interrupt television and local radio broadcasts to give an “all clear” message. However, it is expected that this information will continue to be distributed via the media and news programs.

When will the BC Emergency Alerting System be fully operational?

  • The target date is the end of March 2016. The actual implementation date will depend on a variety of factors, such as testing and training, etc.

How often will the system be tested?

  • Beginning May 2015, tests will be conducted about five times a year.