Tuesday, February 27, 2024

BC taking part in nation-wide test of emergency alert system next week


Don’t be alarmed, Victoria! 

BC will be conducting a test of its emergency alert system next week. 

The test is actually a Canada-wide drill of the National Public Alerting System, which the BC emergency alert system is tied to. 

The test will occur on Wednesday, November 15th at around 1:55 p.m. PST. 

All compatible cell phones will be impacted by the alert and all local radio stations and television programs in the province will have their broadcasts interrupted.

The text message cell phones are to receive will read: 

“This is a TEST of the BC Emergency Alert system. This is ONLY a TEST. In an emergency, this message would tell you what to do to stay safe. This information could save your life. Click for more info: www.emergencyinfobc.ca/test. This is ONLY a TEST. No action is required.”

The purpose of this drill is to assess the National Public Alerting System’s readiness in the case of a real threat to public safety. 

The real-world applications of this system would inform the public of any looming threat, such as  tsunami warnings, imminent threats from floods, wildfires, extreme heat emergencies and police use the system for amber alerts as well as civil emergencies. 

The importance of this system being functional in BC came to light this summer as tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes during the devastating wildfire season. 

Over the course of that time, the Province issued 24 localized alerts to those who needed to evacuate their homes.

Provincial, federal and local governments have been collaborating to make this system as effective as possible since its initial launch in 2015.

Curtis Blandy

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