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Emergency alert system test of cell phones failed

09 May 2018
Emergency alert system test of cell phones failed

The system is still scheduled for the rest of the country this week, with tests planned for BC and AB on Wednesday afternoon.

The test in Ontario was carried out at 1:55 p.m., and while some mobile phone users reported having received an alert, others said their phone didn't make a peep.

"It's not something you get a choice on, it's not something that you get if your phone is turned off, it's all devices that are on and enabled at the time of the alert and are in an LTE area", said Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary emergency management agency.

Depending on settings, users with compatible devices on an LTE network will hear a tone similar to an ambulance siren or feel a vibration for eight seconds.

Consumers can not opt out of receiving public alerts on their wireless devices for public safety reasons. The test will allow the public to be come familiar with how the alert messages will be delivered to their mobile devices, including the tone and vibrations which will distinguish them from regular text messages. Sampson said the cellphone broadcast is a huge step forward.

"Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he expects federal, provincial and private sector experts behind the warning system" to learn from Monday's "serious glitches" and correct the problems quickly.

"As a result, they're not actually on a local TV or radio and so many people use satellite radio and those sorts of things".

Wednesday's test comes after the system misfired on Monday in Quebec and was a hit and miss in Ontario with some people receiving notifications while others did not.

"The goal of a test alert is to comprehensively verify all system components so that in the case of a real threat to life situation, there is confidence the emergency alerts will be distributed successfully".

Pelmorex, which was responsible for the tests along with emergency management officials, blamed a coding error for the failure in Quebec.

"That's why we run tests to ensure that all systems are a go and everything's working properly in case of a real emergency".

"But I got forcibly reminded, all right".

Valladao also pointed out that this was the objective of the test - and it was not a real emergency. "What would we do as a family if that happened?'"

Yukon 1:30 p.m.