(Victoria Buzz)

Don’t be alarmed when your phone randomly emits a high-pitched noise (some say the sound is akin to nails on a chalkboard) in a couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, May 8th, Canada’s nationwide emergency alert system, Alert Ready, will be taking over everyone’s phones, TVs, radios, and compatible wireless devices for a few seconds.

In British Columbia, the broadcast is expected to go off at exactly 1:55 p.m. PST.

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This startling sound may just prove to be life-saving, as it is designed to alert Canadians to disasters and emergencies of varying scales, such as fires, natural disasters, biological/chemical/radiological hazards, terrorist threats, civil emergencies, and more.

To receive the test alert, devices must be connected to an LTE wireless network (commonly known as “4G LTE”) and be updated with the wireless service provider’s latest software. Click here to check your phone’s compatibility.

The Alert Ready system was developed with several partners including federal, provincial and territorial emergency management officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Pelmorex, the broadcasting industry and wireless service providers.

Besides Alert Ready, there are several other ways for the cautious Victorian to remain informed of emergencies in their vicinity.

6 other emergency notification systems:

Vic-Alert

Residents of the city of Victoria – and other municipalities, too – can sign up for this free service set up by the local government which sends you alerts via phone, text, or email.

You’ll be able to get emergency alerts about threats like severe weather, power outages, tsunami, etc., AMBER alerts, and local incidents such as gas-leaks/evacuations. They can only send you these alerts on your private devices if you subscribe to the service, so click here to sign up today!

Town of Sidney Emergency Notification System

Although Vic-Alert provides information to residents of Victoria, people living in or closer to Sidney might want to sign up for their emergency notification system. You can choose to receive notification via phone, email, text, or even fax. Subscribe here.

QuakeFeed (for iPhone users)

This app is specifically designed to alert all iOS mobile users of any earthquakes (and warnings) happening around the world. It’s fully social media integrated, so you can share earthquake alerts near you to people on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram right away. The app is free (unless you decide to pay for the ad-free version).

Be Ready app (for iPhone and Android users)

This mobile app is designed by the Canadian Red Cross to keep Canadians informed about any and all emergencies happening around them. It also provides information on emergency-preparedness and in-app information is available even without an internet connection.

Emergency Info BC (Twitter)

For the avid social media addict, don’t forget to follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter for constant updates on emergencies (natural or man-made) in B.C. They keep their tweets short but informative, and will tell you whether or not you need to run for the hills.

CWarn Tsunami Early Warning System

This website provides free emergency texts to subscribers, informing them about tsunami, earthquake, cyclone, flood, volcano, etc. warnings from all around the world. So never miss a message from mother nature when you’re travelling, or want to check up on loved ones overseas.

Here’s what the Alert Ready tone will sound like on May 8th:

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