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Wireless alerts to be tested across B.C. today

VICTORIA, B.C. — The provincial government said that wireless alerts will be tested for the first time in B.C. at 1:55 p.m. on Wednesday as part of an initiative to improve public safety in the event of emergency.

The new technology was launched through the national Alert Ready program on April 6th. Emergency Management BC will be responsible for issuing emergency notifications on the Alert Ready system in the province, and will initially use wireless alerting for tsunami threats only. The government said it is considering expanding the use of Alert Ready beyond tsunamis to include other hazards and emergencies in the future.

“Wireless alerting will help improve and broaden our reach, so we can ensure more people have access to critical and potentially life-saving information in the event of an emergency,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We’re testing this technology for the first time today to give British Columbians the opportunity to see first-hand how the new system works, and make sure that their devices are compatible.”

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The emergency alerts will be issued, alongside routine television and radio tests, to compatible wireless devices, such as smartphones. The test 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.”

In order to receive alerts, mobile phones must be connected to a cellular network, be alert-compatible, and be located within the alert area. The alerts will be broadcast automatically, at no cost to the user. Wireless compatibility information is available at: www.alertready.ca.

“Today, we’re testing the new wireless alerting system for the first time as part of our commitment to improving our emergency management system in the province,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “Today’s test also serves as a reminder to British Columbians about the importance of emergency preparedness, including understanding the risks where they live and work, creating an emergency plan, and assembling an emergency kit for their workplace, home and vehicles.”

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