‘This is a TEST’: B.C. warns of emergency alert test next week

‘This is a TEST’: B.C. warns of emergency alert test next week
A test of the Alert Ready system back in November 2018. File photo.

The B.C. government is warning residents of a Canada-wide emergency alert test of the National Public Alerting System next week.

The test is scheduled for 1:55 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, and will send to all compatible cellphones, radios and televisions.

The test is being conducted to measure the effectiveness of emergency alert systems across Canada, and to help plan updates if necessary.

While B.C. has its own alert system, called the BC Emergency Alert system, the National Public Alerting System is a federal program that works with all provinces and territories, as well as industry partners, to ensure there is a standard of alerting capability across the country.

When next week’s test alert occurs, it will include this message:

“This is a TEST of the BC Emergency Alert system. This is ONLY a TEST. In an emergency, this message would tell you what to do to stay safe. This information could save your life. Click for more info: www.emergencyinfobc.ca/test. This is ONLY a TEST. No action is required.”

Expanding the alert system

Recently, the province expanded the scope of what its emergency alert system can do.

In 2022, it changed the BC Emergency Alert system to include alerts on floods, wildfires and extreme heat events. Previously, it would only be activated for tsunami warnings.

With the new update in place, the province says it issued 24 emergency alerts during the 2023 wildfire season, which sent out information on evacuation orders and other safety information.

To receive emergency alerts on your cellphone, you must be connected to an LTE cellular network, be within the alert area, have the latest cellphone software update, and your phone can’t be on do-not-disturb or airplane mode.

Television and radios that are already on will automatically have their broadcasts interrupted with the emergency alert sound and message.

B.C.’s emergency alert system launched in April 2018 and is tested twice yearly, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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