BC Emergency Alerting System Test. May 5, 2021
Wednesday, May 5 is the day for a national test of the AlertReady system, run by Pelmorex. Each province is responsible for issuing a test alert and the alert times are coordinated to avoid conflicting alerts along provincial borders.
Emergency Management BC will issue BC’s test alert on May 5, at 1:55 pm (PDT). During the test, the public will hear this alert tone and hear or see the following message on radio, TV, and compatible wireless devices:
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.ca. This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required.
Do not call 911 for additional information about the test. Using 911 for non-emergency calls could delay help for people experiencing real emergencies.
This and subsequent testing will determine the system’s readiness for an actual emergency, as well as identify any issues prior to formal implementation in BC.
Messages delivered through BC’s Emergency Alerting System will complement, not replace, existing notification methods via social media (EmergencyInfoBC & @EmergencyInfoBC), the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS) or other emergency 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 program that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue emergency alerts.
- You can currently expect to receive emergency alerts via compatible wireless devices, and from Canadian radio, TV, cable and satellite operators.
- Visit Alert Ready to find out if your device is compatible.
- Alerts will be issued only to affected regions within BC; however, some alerts could be issued province-wide or could affect more than one region.
Will I receive an emergency alert on my phone?
- For emergency alerts to be received on a wireless device, the device must be:
- A smartphone that can use the LTE (or 4G) network for high-speed wireless communication;
- Wireless Public Alerting compatible;
- Using up-to-date software;
- 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.
- Some carriers are doing silent tests of their systems to make sure things are working in advance of the test. Depending on your phone settings you may receive an alert without a sound.
Will I get an alert tone?
- In general, alerts respect the settings of your compatible wireless device. For example, a compatible wireless device that is set to silent will display an emergency alert, but not play the alert tone.
- The emergency alert sound will usually play at whatever the current volume setting is on the wireless device. If your wireless device is set to silent, no sound will accompany the emergency alert message; however, this can differ depending on your wireless device.
- In some instances, the alert sound may override your user settings. Please contact your telecom service provider to discuss your settings.
What should I do if I see or hear an emergency alert?
- Upon receiving an emergency alert, it is important to take action in a safe manner. Stop what you are doing when it is safe to do so and read the emergency alert. Information could include, but is not limited to: limit unnecessary travel, evacuate the area, seek shelter, etc.
- If safe to do so, seek credible information from officials in your community.
- Do not contact 911 for information related to an alert.
What hazards will I be alerted to?
- Currently, Emergency Management BC will only use Alert Ready to notify of a potential tsunami.
- The RCMP in BC have the ability to use Alert Ready to notify of an AMBER Alert.
- As the system is expanded to include other hazards, there will be subsequent testing.
How will I know when an alert has 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.
- Always listen to local media and officials for updates on the event specific to your community.
Can I opt-out of alerts to wireless devices?
- Due to the importance of public safety, the CRTC requires wireless service providers to distribute alerts on all compatible wireless devices connected to an LTE network in a target area.
- Unlike radio and television broadcasting, which often has broad areas of coverage, wireless public alerting is geo-targeted. As a result, if an emergency alert reaches your wireless device, you are located in an area where there is an imminent danger. Visit the CRTC webpage for more information.
Why is my wireless device receiving multiple messages for the same emergency alert?
- Check first that you have received several different alerts as opposed to a repeated alert. Additionally, check if another app on the device is notifying you of a single alert.
- If you are receiving repeated alerts of the same message, your device may be set with a REMINDER feature, this may cause the alert to repeat until you acknowledge it. This feature can be turned off following directions in your device’s User Guide. Your wireless service provider will also be able to provide assistance.
- You may also be receiving the alert through an app such as The Weather Network or MétéoMédia, which both distribute alerts.
Will I be charged for the service?
- Alerts will be broadcast at no cost and without a subscription. This will ensure the maximum number of people receive the alert.