Phones across B.C.’s Lower Mainland emitted a blaring alert tone in unison on Wednesday at 1:55 p.m.
It was part of the Alert Ready program, a collaborative initiative between federal, provincial and territorial governments to warn the public of imminent disasters.
Wednesday’s warning was the second time the system was tested.
The first alert went out in May and revealed several glitches. There were reports that many British Columbians did not receive the alert on their phones.
Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, said more people were reached during Wednesday’s alert, but there’s still room for improvement.
“There’s no perfect system where we’re going to hit 100 per cent of the people we need to, but we want to keep expanding and reaching as many people as possible.”
For the alerts to work, phones should be running on the latest operating system and must be connected to an LTE or 4G network.
Concerns over accessibility
The alerts also air on television and radio.
Jeremy Hunka, spokesperson for the Union Gospel Mission said not everyone has phones, particularly homeless and elderly people.
“Some will receive these alerts. But not everybody will, and just like poor air quality and extreme weather, our guests will be most at risk in the case of an emergency,” said Hunka.
“And they may not get the warnings everyone else gets.”
The system will be used to notify people of potential tsunamis, with plans to expand to other emergencies in the future.
The B.C. RCMP will also be able to use the system to notify of Amber Alerts.
CBC BC asked viewers on Facebook and Twitter to weigh in on whether they received today’s notification. Here’s what some of you had to say:
I did not receive alert but realized it was probably because I was on G3 not LTE. My phone allows me to choose. I like G3 because uses less data.
I got mine this time so definitely an improvement.
My husband got the alert from <a href=”https://twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@EmergencyInfoBC</a> & I didn’t. He said he’s been pre-selected to survive the zombie apocalypse and I’m going to die