'Alert Ready' system test coming to Manitoba Wednesday

The inaugural test of the Alert Ready system is at 1:55pm this afternoon. Logo supplied

The inaugural test of the Alert Ready system is at 1:55pm this afternoon. Logo supplied

Valladao pointed out at least it was just a test and not a real emergency.

A similar system is already used in the USA, and made headlines earlier this year when an emergency official in Hawaii mistakenly sent an alert about a potential incoming ballistic missile.

Residents of the Northwest Territories will receive a test alert via their phones on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 9.

Some Canadian service providers sent text messages to subscribers last week alerting them to the tests, which are mandatory and may require users to acknowledge a message before they can resume normal use of their devices.

However, the wireless alert for mobile phones will only go out once per year during Emergency Preparedness Week in the first week of May. "That's why they were running tests - to see if something went wrong".

Depending on the type of device and cell phone providers, citizens are to expect to hear a tone similar to an ambulance alarm or feel a vibration for 8 seconds. Not connected to the network devices will not get the alert, but those who are talking on the phone, can hear their dialogue is interrupted by a sound similar to signal "call in idle mode".

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Southwest Airlines has not released any comment but the company did respond to a tweet from one of the passengers on the plane. The airline said it was "glad to hear everyone made it safely to BWI" but that it regretted the inconvenience.

The alert system is created to notify the public of imminent disaster or emergency such as a tornado warning, a biological threat of some kind, or the spill of hazardous materials.

The new system is similar in nature to one that caused chaos in Hawaii four months ago, when an official accidentally told everyone a missile was about to strike.

The alert messages are distributed by cell broadcast technology and can not be tracked.

Representatives from wireless carriers BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. said they were investigating why some customers did not receive the test alert.

Nova Scotia 1:55 p.m.

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