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

Boat on fire in Rutland home

Emergency crews are responding to a boat fire in a Kelowna home

Crews are working to contain the wildfire north of Okanagan Connector

Update: Aug. 15 Crews will continue to mop up and extend hose… Continue reading

Animal rights activists to protest Kelowna’s RibFest launch

Animal rights activists plan on sinking their teeth into an annual event they say is unethical and unhealthy.

Return of Indigenous carver puts Okanagan College back on cutting edge

Artist Darren McKenzie will return to teach his popular course on Indigenous carving in October

No end in sight, smoke is here to stay

There is no anticipated change in weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap this week

No growth on the Monashee Complex wildfires

Mabel Creek, Sugar Mountain and Harris Creek fires continue to burn near Lumby and Cherryville

Three new fires sparked in the South Okanagan- Similkameen

BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze off Olalla forest service road

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

RCMP deploys officers to help B.C. communities impacted by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to communities particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

Increasing temperatures challenge crews on Snowy Mountain

The Snowy Mountain wildfire near Keremeos remains out-of-control

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Regional climate adaptation agriculture testing to expand in B.C.

Ottawa funds farm projects to conserve water, remove invasive species

Most Read