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Cellphones, radio, TV stations to broadcast emergency alert system test today

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Alert Ready Amber Alert system

OTTAWA – Wireless devices, radio stations and TV broadcast emergency messages today, but there's nothing to be alarmed about.

The shrill signals from provincial and territorial emergency management systems across the country – except in Nunavut – will be transmitted to test the national public alert system.

Alerts are designed to warn of imminent threats or emergencies such as floods, tornadoes, fires, or amber alerts.

Depending on where you live, the tests will take place mid-morning or early afternoon.

Emergency alerts have become a familiar sound since the national public alert system was tested in early 2018, revealing flaws in several provinces.

Since January, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission says 125 emergency messages have been issued, warning Canadians of potentially fatal situations.

The CRTC said the emergency alerts were credited with saving lives.

Some alert recipients, however, found them annoying, prompting social media complaints – and even 911 operators – that emergency warnings came too late at night or were directed to the wrong geographic area.

The complaints sparked heated debate about the need to help find missing children or to warn of emergencies.

Pelmorex Corp., which operates the system's technical infrastructure, says testing is needed to ensure the system is working properly and to educate Canadians about the appearance and sound of warning signals.

To receive alerts, compatible wireless devices must be equipped with the latest operating software. They must also be connected to an LTE network when the alert is issued.

All wireless devices sold by service providers after April 6, 2019 must have the ability to issue public alerts.

Canadians with compatible devices who do not receive the test are being asked to contact their wireless service provider.

Here is when the test signals are scheduled to be transmitted:

  • Alberta 13:55 MST

  • British-Colombia 13:55 PST

  • Manitoba 13:55 CST

  • New-Brunswick 10:55 AM AST

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 10:55 am NST

  • Northwest Territories 9:55 am MST

  • Nova Scotia 13:55 AST

  • Nunavut – No Testing

  • Ontario 2:55 pm Husa

  • Prince Edward Island 12:55 AST

  • Quebec 13:55 Husa

  • Saskatchewan 13:55 CST

  • Yukon 13:55 PST

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 27, 2019.



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