Not everyone alerted in latest test

Did you hear the sirens on your cellphone last Wednesday?

Some did and some didn’t in the latest test of the new Alert Ready system, a sign that the system in not quite yet up to snuff.

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At 1:55 p.m. on Nov. 28, your cellphone should have had a loud alert tone blaring for several seconds along with a voice saying: “This is only a test.” A text notification was also sent.

The alerts also appeared on television and radio stations as part of a Canada-wide test.

However, many on social media sites here in South Delta said they didn’t receive the alert, even though they have a late model phone with one of the cellular carriers that has opted into the service.

The alert was meant to sound on compatible mobile phones connected to a 4G or LTE wireless network. However, wireless devices that were set to silent or had their volume turned down might not have played the emergency alert sound.

The initial test on May 9 experienced glitches across B.C. and the rest of the country. The test system was silent in Quebec and alerts were spotty in Ontario and Manitoba.

Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, said cellphone users had to have the latest operating system installed on their phone, so anyone who had out-of-date software might not have heard the alert.

Emergency Management B.C. will work with Pelmorex, the company that operates the system, and Public Safety Canada to gather data on how many people in B.C. received the alert, Rice said. That will take about week.

Emergency Management B.C. expanded the existing radio and TV alert system to include cellphones on April 6.

“Not one system is the perfect alerting system for reaching everyone, but it’s about expanding the reach,” Rice said.

The emergency management agency said B.C. will initially use the alerts only in the event of a tsunami, but there are plans to expand their use to other emergencies and hazards.

Rice said eventually the province would like to expand the technology to the RCMP, which can send alerts in the case of a missing child.

No date has been set for the next test, but Rice said it will likely be during emergency preparedness week next May.

For more information about the alert system or to find out if a device is compatible, go to

  • With files from Victoria Times Colonist

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