Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

B.C. cellphones, radio, TV to shriek in alert testing next week

The test will take place Wednesday, May 8 at 10:55 a.m. PST.
Many British Columbians will receive an emergency alert test on Wednesday.

Be prepared for blaring alarms on cellphones, televisions and radios next Wednesday.

The alert testing is taking place at 10:55 a.m. Pacific time on May 8 as part of Emergency Preparedness Week.

All compatible cellphones, and will also interrupt radio and television broadcasts at no cost to users.

Alert testing, which is done twice a year in spring and fall, assesses the system's readiness for an actual emergency and identifies any adjustments that are needed.

To receive alerts, cellphones must be connected to an LTE cellular network and must be turned on and cannot be on do not disturb or airplane mode.

British Columbia expanded the use of BC Emergency Alerts beyond tsunami warnings in 2022 to include "imminent threats" from floods, wildfires and extreme heat emergencies.

Police issue alerts for civil emergencies and Amber Alerts, as well as federal government alerts for events and hazards including tornadoes, thunderstorms, storm surges and hurricanes.

This year, Natural Resources Canada will launch the Canada Earthquake Early Warning system, providing emergency alerts for earthquakes, according to a news release from the B.C. Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

"Earthquake early-warning systems rapidly detect earthquakes and can provide crucial seconds of warning before the strong shaking arrives," says the release.

B.C. residents can take part in a short online survey after the test to determine the reach of the Alert Ready test by clicking here.

The National Public Alerting System is a collaborative initiative between federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as industry partners. It provides a standard alerting capability to rapidly warn the public of imminent or unfolding hazards and threats to life and safety.