Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Science | By Clint Wade

National Emergency Alert System Testing A Hit And Miss For British Columbians

National Emergency Alert System Testing A Hit And Miss For British Columbians

The Alberta Alert Ready emergency notification test in Calgary was deemed an overall success Wednesday, but it wasn't ideal.

Meanwhile, in Atlantic Canada, Pelmorex, the company that operates the alert system, said in a statement that wireless carriers confirmed the test messages were distributed across their networks.

Examples of the types of alerts that are issued through the Alert Ready system include natural disasters like tornados and earthquakes or a civil emergency like Amber Alerts.

A new emergency alert system was tested on cellphones and TV and radio stations across B.C. Wednesday afternoon, with mixed results.

Tests were attempted in Ontario and Quebec on Monday.

The test of the Alert Ready public awareness system took place at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday.

The wireless alerts are being added in addition to the already existing radio and television alerts, and will initially be only used for tsunami threats. Officials are looking into why many devices remained silent while others buzzed during scheduled test roll-outs in different provinces and territories. "We're going to be using indirect measures to gauge the effectiveness", Trytten said.

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"We are watching social media traffic".

While the alert did send to a few, there are many who didn't receive any notification.

In order to receive the message, the phone must be an LTE-device connected to an LTE network and be compatible with the wireless public alerting system.

The alerts have also proven unreliable through tests in other provinces. Operators said they were learning from failed tests in those provinces, The Canadian Press reports.

In Quebec, a space incorrectly included in the coding prevented the Alert Ready system from sending the test message to compatible wireless devices.

The messages were sent automatically at no cost to cellphone users.

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