Canadians with LTE-compatible phones can now receive public alerts and safety information in the event of life-threatening emergencies.
The National Public Alerting System, known as Alert Ready, provides a standardized system that sends out localized alerts.
“By adding smartphones to our emergency alert system, we will be able to reach more Canadians, faster, in times of crisis,” said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
Provincial testing of the system will begin in May. Users in Ontario and Quebec will get test alerts May 7, and in the rest of the provinces a test will take place on May 9. Yukon and Nunavut have yet to announce testing dates.
Wireless alerts will appear like a text message and will be have a distinct sound and vibration meant to reinforce the alert message.
According to Public Safety Canada, wireless public alerting is geo-targeted and can be very specific to a limited area of coverage, unlike radio and television broadcasting, which often has broad areas of coverage.
A wireless device that is turned off will not display an alert until it is turned back on, if the emergency alert is still active in the area.
Wireless users can’t opt out of the system, and the CRTC has said wireless providers cannot charge a separate fee on consumers’ bills for participating in the alert system.
To test if your phone is capable of receiving alerts visit AlertReady.