Don’t be startled if your phone warns you of an emergency Wednesday; it’s likely just a test.
Messages will be sent through cell phones, TV and radio at different times across the country as part of a test of Canada’s emergency alert system, Alert Ready.
“Test alerts educate Canadians on what an emergency alert will look and sound like in the event of a life-threatening situation,” Martin Bélanger, director of public alerting at Pelmorex, said in a statement. The company operates Alert Ready’s technical infrastructure.
What does an emergency alert look like?
The system is designed for extreme weather events, Amber Alerts and other emergencies. The alert would normally come with instructions designed to keep you safe — encouraging you to take cover, for example. Wednesday’s test message, however, will tell people where they can read more about the emergency alert system.
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When can you expect the call? That depends on where you live:
Alberta: 1:55 p.m. MST
British Columbia: 1:55 p.m. PST
Manitoba 1:55 p.m. CST
New Brunswick: 10:55 a.m. AST
Newfoundland & Labrador: 10:55 a.m. NST
Northwest Territories: 9:55 a.m. MST
Nova Scotia: 1:55 p.m. AST
Nunavut: No test scheduled
Ontario: 2:55 p.m. EST
Prince Edward Island: 12:55 p.m. AST
Quebec: 1:55 p.m. EST
Saskatchewan: 1:55 p.m. CST
Yukon: 1:55 p.m. PST
When the system was first tested in March 2018 in Manitoba, only 60 per cent of wireless users actually received the message. A second test in November 2018 fared much better.
Since the start of 2019, 125 emergency alerts have been issued across Canada.