After a testing of BC’s Emergency Alert System last month in preparation for it, the launch of a wireless emergency alert system in the province will become a reality this Friday, April 6.
The system is meant to ensure that people in the province have the information they need to act quickly in the event of an emergency.
“Accurate and timely information in an emergency situation can save lives and livelihoods, and we need to deploy every tool available to alert people of potential public safety threats,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Wireless alerts will be publicly tested for the first time in B.C. on May 9, 2018, at 1:55 pm, alongside routine television and radio tests.
Emergency Management BC is the sole agency responsible for issuing emergency notifications on the Alert Ready system in the province, and will initially issue such alerts for tsunami threats only.
The Province said it is also considering expanding the use of Alert Ready beyond tsunamis to include other hazards and emergencies in the future.
Wireless alerts will contain instructions for a safe response, and all British Columbians are urged to abide by these instructions without delay.
In order to receive alerts, mobile phones must be connected to a cellular network, be alert-compatible, and within the alert area. They will be broadcast automatically at no cost to the user.
“Wireless alerts are a welcome addition to our current alerting tools,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
She noted that these alerts will complement the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS), social media, and, at the community level, sirens, subscription-based text message alerts, and other mechanisms.
Currently, all radio and television broadcasters in Canada are mandated to broadcast public alerts.
On April 6, 2017, the CRTC mandated wireless service providers to be capable of sending wireless public alerts in Canada by April 6, 2018.
Those who want to know whether their device is compatible with the Alert Ready system can find out online.