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City of Calgary calling Alberta Emergency Alert system test a success

11 May 2018

While B.C. saw its fair share of emergencies a year ago, including a record-breaking wildfire season and widespread flooding, the alert system will only be initially used in B.C.to warn of incoming tsunamis.

Emergency Management BC (EMBC) is responsible for emergency notifications on the Alert Ready system.

A lot depends on the handsets used and the software versions of the devices, company officials said in a statement.

Nova Scotian cell phones are expected to beep and buzz at 1:55 p.m Wednesday as a test of the Alert Ready system is sent out.

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Alberta, along with seven other provinces and two territories, received the test alerts Thursday.

Palmorex, the company that operates the system, still couldn't say what caused the problems earlier in the week.

Anecdotal reports on social media suggested only some residents of the Prairies, the West Coast and northern Canada received messages.

Those who did not get the cellphone broadcast were still able to get the alert from the AEA app, said Sampson.

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In the future, more devices may be compatible with receiving the alerts, such as smartwatches and internet-enabled appliances, and there may be a way for members of the public in affected areas to respond with information about the emergency.

Devices that are turned off won't receive the signal but phone users will hear their conversations interrupted by a sound similar to a call waiting tone. On April 6, 2017, the CRTC mandated wireless service providers to be capable of sending wireless public alerts in Canada by April 6. The government said it is considering expanding the use of Alert Ready beyond tsunamis to include other hazards and emergencies in the future.

"It was just really weird because that high-pitched noise, it was really just alarming and I was just like, "Wow, what's happening" and I looked at my phone and there was nothing there", said Tatianna Beresford.

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City of Calgary calling Alberta Emergency Alert system test a success