B.C.’s wireless alerting system will be tested tomorrow (Nov. 25), but there’s a chance not everyone will receive the alert.
That’s because the alert will only come to your phone if certain criteria are met. Phones must be able to use the LTE or 4G network and be compatible with the public alert system. They also have to have up-to-date software, be connected to the network when the alert is issued, and must be within the emergency area.
“If your phone didn’t [get] the Alert Ready message it is not because the system is ‘broken’ but because your phone didn’t meet the criteria,” said Strathcona Regional District protective services coordinator Shaun Koopman in an email.
Wednesday’s test will be part of the biannual testing of the national Alert Ready system, which was launched in B.C. in 2018. A scheduled test for May was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The test helps assess the system’s readiness and helps identify problems and any adjustments that need to be made.
During the test, an alert will be broadcast to television and radio stations as well as phones that meet the criteria. According to a release from the province, the message will read: “This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is ONLY a TEST. If this had been an actual emergency or threat, you would now hear instructions that would assist you to protect you and your family. For further information go to www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca. This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required.”
The Alert Ready system is different from the local Connect Rocket Community mass notification system used by the SRD and other regional districts in the province. The Connect Rocket system requires residents to sign up for notifications, and can send messages to phones on a list of numbers. The SRD maintains 17 different lists for different areas of the regional district. Each electoral area has a list, as do each of the islands within the regional district. Municipalities also have their own lists, as do the floodplains in the regional district. Finally, there are lists for First Nations communities, for visitors, and a tsunami warning list for the west coast of the Island.
Those interested in signing up can do so at https://strathconard.connectrocket.com/.