VICTORIA – A test of BC’s wireless alert system will be conducted at 1:55 p.m. PT on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, as part of the national Alert Ready system to improve public safety in the event of an emergency .
This year, the province is expanding the use of the Alert Ready system in British Columbia beyond tsunami warnings and Amber Alerts to also include impending flood and wildfire threats.
“The frequency of threats facing our communities is increasing due to factors such as climate change, and this expansion of the Alert Ready system in British Columbia will ensure that we have all the tools at our disposal to support public safety,” said said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “While it is important to remember that public emergency alerting is intended to supplement, but not replace, emergency alerting already conducted by Emergency Management BC and local governments, the intrusive alerts being broadcast present unique benefits with their reach and impact.”
The wireless alert system is online and ready to deploy in the event of flooding, and will be expanded again to include forest fire threats by early June. Local governments and First Nations have been notified of the expansion of the system.
The system test is part of a biannual test of the national Alert Ready system, which was launched in British Columbia in 2015 to alert people of tsunami risk. These tests are designed to assess the system’s readiness for an actual emergency and identify any adjustments that may be needed. The test takes place across the country.
During the test, an alert will be broadcast on radio and television stations as well as compatible wireless devices, including cell phones. The test message will read: “This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alert System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is only a test. If it was an emergency or a real threat, you would now hear instructions that would help protect you and your family. For more information, visit: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca. This is a TEST ONLY, no action is required.
The test takes place during Emergency Preparedness Week, May 1-7. With weather-related disasters becoming more frequent and destructive, everyone in British Columbia needs to be prepared. People are encouraged to understand the hazards in their area, gather emergency supplies, and write a plan with the information they need to stay safe.
The National Public Alerting System, publicly known as Alert Ready, is a collaborative initiative between federal, provincial and territorial governments and industry partners. It provides a standard alerting capability to quickly warn the public of imminent or ongoing dangers to life. Alerts can be broadcast to radio and television stations, as well as compatible wireless devices.
- To receive alerts, cell phones must be connected to an LTE cellular network (device must be turned on and cannot be set to do not disturb or airplane mode), be alert compatible, be in range alert and have up to date cellular software. Alerts will be broadcast automatically at no cost to the user.
- Pursuant to a 2014 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision, all radio and television broadcasters in Canada are required to issue public alerts.
- On April 6, 2017, the CRTC required wireless service providers to be able to send wireless public alerts in Canada by April 6, 2018.
- British Columbians may wish to participate in a short online survey after the test to help determine the scope of the Alert Ready test. This survey is administered by Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc. Link to English survey: https://peasi.com/emergency-alert-test-survey.html Link to the survey in French: https://peasi.com/emergency-alert-test-survey.html