Alertable users in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) may receive two notifications on Wednesday afternoon.
At 1:55 p.m. on May 4, mobile phones in B.C. will receive a test message from the B.C. government’s Alert Ready emergency broadcast system. The message will be accompanied by an emergency tone and will notify recipients that no action is required.
Users of the Alertable app in the CSRD may receive the test message a second time.
“If you get a test message on May 4 from Alert Ready on your phone, the Alertable app, or both, then the test worked,” reads a May 4 CSRD media release.
CSRD protective services team leader Derek Sutherland said if your Alertable app is configured to a landline, email or SMS, then you’re won’t receive the Alert Ready message through the app. If you’re getting push notifications through the app, you likely will.
According to the CSRD, the two systems are used differently for different types of emergencies. The Alert Ready system is broadcast intrusive, and will interrupt your cell phone, radio and TV broadcasts.
“It has a strict and limited criteria for use and will only be used… for life-threatening situations involving floods, fires or tsunamis,” said the CSRD.
The Alertable app notifies users about things such as wildfires, landslides, flooding, swimming advisories and boil water notifications. It is used when evacuation alerts are issued within the regional district, whereas the Alert Ready system will not be used to broadcast evacuation alerts.
The CSRD and the Shuswap Emergency Program will have the ability to share emergency alerts through Alertable and Alert Ready.
“We can define the area that’s being alerted,” said Sutherland. “Because it interrupts a cellular signal, it will go to the cell towers that are covering a particular area we want it to cover.”
Sutherland said the only time the regional district would use Alert Ready is when there’s a situation that’s “really extreme and really dire.”
The best way to get all relevant notifications is to download Alertable, said the CSRD, noting with Alertable, users have to subscribe to receive notifications. The CSRD currently has about 12,500 subscribers.
“It may seem silly to receive the same message twice from time to time, but there are benefits,” reported the CSRD. “The Alertable app can help when you are out of cell range, but are connected to internet. This happens, especially in rural areas of the CSRD.”
Sutherland explained there may be locations where one system works better than the other, and that Alert Ready provides another tool for the emergency program.
The CSRD said Emergency Management BC is supportive of the use of both systems together, with the thinking being it is better for people to be alerted twice than not at all.
For more information about the Alertable app, visit www.csrd.bc.ca/alertable.
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