If you are Canadian, you may have received a text message on your cell phone from your mobile provider in the last few weeks indicating that as of April 6, 2018 the new national warning system will be able to send you emergency notifications straight to your device without requiring you to opt in to receive such communications. This alerting system, Alert Ready, will be used to send notifications regarding various emergency situations directly to those who are in imminent danger.
After obtaining backing from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 2014, Alert Ready will provide this potentially life-saving service to Canadians. Previously, emergency notifications were only broadcasted over television and radio systems, however now Alert Ready will be utilizing mobile devices as well to further the reach of these alerts.
What kind of alerts can you expect to receive?
Alert Ready will send notifications in situations where there is a potential threat to life. These situations can include and are not limited to:
- Severe weather events
- Amber Alerts
- Bomb threats
- Disruptions of vital services
Geo-location functionality will be used to determine who receives each alert message. If Alert Ready sees your current location is in the vicinity of the threat, you will be sent the alert. Even if you are only visiting the area where the threat is located, you should still receive the alert to your mobile device.
What should I do if I receive an alert?
When an alert is received, you will hear a distinct signal from your device. If you are unable to immediately respond to the alert message, the signal sound and concurrent vibration of the device will cease after approximately eight seconds.
Upon hearing this signal, you should check your device (if it is safe to do so) and take any required action as soon as possible. This is important in order to ensure your own safety as well as that of your loved ones. All appropriate information will be included in the alert – whether it be evacuation instructions, rest in place orders, or other instructions.
Why is Alert Ready important?
Knowledge is power. Having a national warning system such as Alert Ready is critically important for ensuring public safety and the system will be used to save lives and mitigate threats as quickly as possible. Roughly 86 percent of Canadian households own at least one mobile phone, and about 98 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. This means that if you were to send a nationwide text message alert, you are guaranteed to reach the majority of Canadians within minutes. Supplement that with the existing television and radio alerts, and you could safely say that most, if not all, Canadians would be alerted in plenty of time.
Alert Ready's ability to send geo-targeted alerts will ensure that only those residents who need to be alerted will be, without causing unnecessary alarm to Canadians on the other side of the country – or even on the other side of the province.
If you have any questions about Canada's new national warning system and whether your mobile device will be compatible to receive mobile alerts, visit the Alert Ready website to learn more.