Nationwide alert test set for Wednesday

Alert Ready logo. Courtesy Alert Ready official website.

Personal devices across Ontario will produce some noise on Wednesday afternoon.

A nationwide test of the Alert Ready system is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. Eastern time in Ontario. Alert Ready is the official conduit of emergency alert messages, and it operates through television and radio stations, as well as through internet and cell phone providers to bring alerts right to people’s smartphones.

In the event of an actual emergency, such as a major evacuation, a tornado, severe weather, water contamination, or a terrorist attack, Alert Ready broadcasts an emergency notification through TV, radio and personal devices.

Ontarians have seen the Alert Ready system in action several times this year, thanks to a series of AMBER Alerts issued. Despite some of the complaints made about the AMBER Alert system, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) said the system works.

“Since January 1, 2019, more than 125 emergency alerts have been successfully transmitted and have been credited with saving lives, as well as apprehending suspects in the case of AMBER Alerts,” said Robert Ghiz, president and CEO of the CWTA. “Every test of a complex national system helps us to improve it, and we encourage Canadians to help make the test as effective as possible.”

If for some reason your device does not get a test on Wednesday, it could be because your phone is not compatible or the software is out of date. Having a phone not connected to an LTE network is also a possible cause.

Cellphone users can not opt-out of receiving the alerts.

The CWTA is urging people not to call 911 to ask about, or complain about the test. 911 is for life-or-death emergencies only, and use of the number for non-emergency inquiries may hinder the ability of first responders to react in a situation in which every minute counts.