Testing, testing! The next wave of emergency alert trials will hit B.C. on May 9 at 1:55 p.m. This time, the alerts will be issued on wireless devices for the first time, as well as by radio and television broadcasting.
For the first time, B.C. residents with compatible phones will get a text from Emergency Management BC. To get the alerts, cell phones must be compatible, located in the alert area and on a cellular network. There won’t be a charge for receiving the messages.
At first, the texts will only be about tsunami threats but in the future it could include more emergency situations. The messages will have instructions on how to react safely.
“Wireless alerts are a welcome addition to our current alerting tools,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, the parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, in the press release.
Rice added the Alert Ready system works alongside the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS), community sirens, subscription-based text message alerts and social media.
In Prince Rupert, the tsunami alert sirens were removed years ago. When a tsunami alert was issued for the North Coast on Jan. 23 many residents slept through the alerts, which were only issued by the City of Prince Rupert on their website, Twitter and Facebook page.
The most recent alert drill, which rang out across the province on broadcast radio and TV on March 21, also went largely unheard by many Rupertites.
In a web poll by the Northern View the day of the drill, a little more than four per cent of responders said they heard the alert on the radio. Less than three per cent heard in on the TV. At 41 per cent, many didn’t hear the drill — at 51 per cent, the majority of responders didn’t know a drill was taking place at all.
Check your phone’s compatibility at www.AlertReady.ca.