Emergency alert systems to be tested Wednesday across BC

emergency alert test

A Canada-wide test of the National Public Alerting System will occur at 1:55 p.m. (Pacific time) on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, to improve public safety in the event of an emergency.

The test alert will go to all compatible cellphones and interrupt radio and television broadcasts. The test message to cellphones will read: "This is a TEST of the BC Emergency Alert system. This is ONLY a TEST. In an emergency, this message would tell you what to do to stay safe. This information could save your life. Click for more info: www.emergencyinfobc.ca/test. This is ONLY a TEST. No action is required."

This test will assess the system's readiness for an actual emergency and identify any required adjustments.

Recognizing the importance of this tool, the Province expanded the use of BC Emergency Alerts beyond tsunami warnings in 2022 to also include imminent threats from floods, wildfires and extreme heat emergencies. Police issue Amber Alerts and alerts for civil emergencies.

During the 2023 wildfire season, tens of thousands of people were asked to evacuate on short notice. In 2023, the Province issued 24 emergency alerts about evacuation orders, providing people with timely, life-saving information when they needed it.

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.