Second round of emergency mobile alert tests hits phones across Canada

Alert Ready is designed to send alerts straight to mobile phones during an emergency, but failed its first dry run in two provinces.

If at first you don’t succeed, alert, alert again.

It appears Alert Ready, Canada’s new mobile public alerting system, passed its second round of testing on Nov. 28.

Phones across Canada were set to receive a second wave of test alerts at 1:55 p.m. today — with the exception of Quebec, where a test was scheduled for 2:55 p.m. — and if the reaction on Twitter counts for anything, those alerts were received loud and clear.

In fact, some Twitter users complained that the alerts were too loud and too clear.

The test might not have been a complete success though. Some users reported not having received an alert, or said the alert appeared on their screen but was silent.

Still, the test appears to have been more successful than it was the first time around. Alert Ready had its first real-world tests across Canada in May. But if the emergency had been real, only a fraction of those who were supposed to receive the warning would have gotten it.

Manitoba Infrastructure’s Emergency Measures Organizations said only 60 per cent of wireless users received that test, and no one in Quebec received it due to a coding error. In Ontario, only some wireless users received the alert, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, the few who received the test received it late.

The Alert Ready system went live last spring after the CRTC mandated all wireless service providers need to be able to send threat-to-life emergency messages by April 6. As of that day, Canadians should no longer need to rely on special apps or subscribe to SMS message lists to receive mobile alerts during an emergency.

The system is managed and administered by a company called Pelmorex Corp., in partnership with the federal government and wireless providers across Canada.

“Automatically if you are in the zone [of an alert] and you have an LTE compatible device, you will receive an emergency alert,” Martin Belanger, spokesperson for Pelmorex Corp., said earlier this year, although testing has shown so far that this only applies to some Canadians.

Have you received an Alert Ready alert? Would you trust Alert Ready to warn you in an emergency? Answer our poll below.

-With files from The Canadian Press