Something Interesting is About to Happen to Your Phone
Almost everyone in Halton who has a phone will start getting some interesting alerts soon, as the federal government implements a brand new program to broadcast potentially life-saving messages to your phone.
You know the emergency alert tone that blares over the television or radio when something potentially dangerous and life-threatening is happening, like a major storm?
Well, now, the federal government is implementing an emergency alert system for your phone. No, it won’t make the same sound, but you will get a message if there’s an emergency alert in effect.
The system is called Alert Ready, and it’s launching very soon.
“Starting April 6th, in addition to TV and Radio, Alert Ready will be sending life-threatening emergency alerts to cell phones and wireless devices that are compatible with Wireless Public Alerting (WPA),” says Alert Ready’s website.
How do you know if your phone is compatible?
Your device has to meet three conditions:
- An LTE-device like a smartphone (LTE is commonly referred to as "4G LTE")
- Wireless public alerting (WPA)-compatible
- Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued.
Though the alerts might look like text messages, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t actually text messages.
“Emergency alerts are sent via Cell Broadcast distribution,” says the website. “Cell Broadcast is a mobile technology that allows messages to be broadcast to all compatible wireless devices within a designated geographical area.”
Basically, it’s a way to get a message to a lot of people at the same time in one area, and it’s not affected by possible network congestion.
Think of it like a radio broadcast - if your phone can pick up the signal, you’ll get the message.
What happens when you get an alert?
“Upon receiving the emergency alert it is important to take action safely,” says the website.
“Stop what you are doing when it is safe to do so and read the emergency alert. Alerting authorities will include, within the emergency alert, the information you need for any action you need to take. This could include but is not limited to: limit unnecessary travel, evacuate the areas, seek shelter, etc.”
You might get an alert for a range of reasons, such as if there’s a natural disaster, or an Amber alert.
These alerts are designed for urgent situations across Canada, but it’s important not to panic if you get one.
“When an alert is heard, it is the responsibility of the public to stop, listen and respond as directed by the issuing authority and the alert message,” says the website.
There’s currently a test message going around about the new system. Here’s what it says:
As early as Apr 6, the federal government is launching the Alert Ready Emergency Alert System, a text based alerting service that will inform Canadians about possible emergency situations. Please ensure your device software is up-to-date to receive these emergency alerts, including a test alert once a year. Your safety is our top priority. Learn more at alertready.ca/wireless
You can find out if your phone is compatible with the system here.
What do you think of Canada’s new emergency alert system?