Coastal communities in B.C. have signs showing the way to higher ground in the event of a tsunami alert. (Black Press)

B.C. emergency phone text testing starts in May

Coastal tsunami zones first for new public alert system, fires and floods later

Your mobile phone could be receiving its first test message for a new nation-wide emergency alert system in May.

B.C. is taking part in a new federal program that requires mobile phone networks to set up a new alert system that can reach any phone on an LTE or 4G mobile network with emergency messages. The federal law takes effect April 6 and public testing of the system is set to begin in the first week of May, says B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

B.C.’s plan is to use the system first in areas affected by tsunami alerts, Farnworth told Black Press. Communities such as Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Bella Coola, Port Alberni, Tofino an Ucluelet will retain their sirens and other existing tsunami warning systems, and cities like Victoria that have a local emergency text service will continue to use those. Local media alerts will also continue to be issued.

After the testing period, text message alerts will be extended province-wide for use in fire or flood evacuation messages and other emergency notices as well as tsunami alerts, Farnworth said.

“It’s not a silver bullet, because if you don’t have your phone turned on, you won’t get the message,” he said. “It’s a big improvement, it’s something provinces including British Columbia have been pushing for. But it doesn’t replace existing tools, it adds to the ability to provide better warnings.”

The Emergency Info B.C. web page has information on how the system will work. It includes a link to the Alert Ready page where people can check to see if their mobile phone is compatible with the system.

The provincial emergency website www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca and its Twitter feed @emergencyinfobc will also continue to provide warnings and updates on public safety emergencies.

An earthquake off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska in the early hours of Jan. 23 triggered evacuations in coastal communities including Greater Victoria, Port Alberni, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. The wave turned out to be too small to be a threat and the alert was cancelled a few hours later.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ in Courtenay to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Cam Levins sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The 29-year-old from Black Creek, B.C., ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Steady stream of voters at Filberg

Voter turnout has been a steady stream Saturday at the Florence Filberg… Continue reading

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

Most Read