The Alert Ready system went live for wireless emergency alerts went live in early April, and after some failed test alerts nationwide, an alert sent out just this morning has proven the system actually works.
Residents in Ontario received an emergency wireless alert to their smartphones at 11:37AM EDT, regarding an Amber Alert, issued by the Ontario Provincial Police, over a missing child named Gabriel McCallum.
— ? (@DeanLubaki) May 14, 2018
For those who didn’t receive the test alerts, and had their smartphones not on silent, the blaring siren probably freaked you out. Some users on social media were questioning whether an Amber Alert qualifies for emergency wireless alerts, but for any parent out there, you’d probably say ‘yes’.
While I agree with the importance of sending out Amber Alerts, I'm not sure that #AlertReady is the appropriate channel for sending them. I'm concerned if amber alerts appear and sound the same as warnings for natural disasters, alert fatigue will set in.
— Jamie Edwards (@JamiePEdwards) May 14, 2018
I get the value of Amber Alerts and the Emergency Broadcast System on our phones, BUT what is the value of disturbing people in London over an Amber Alert in Thunder Bay, Ontario? Just asking. Shouldn't these alerts be sent out to phones in the appropriate geographical areas?
— Julia Wooster (@LdnOntHypnotist) May 14, 2018
Heart attack ✔️New Emergency Alert (finally) working in Ontario ? Amber Alert ✔️
— Shelley Mantei (@ShelleyMantei) May 14, 2018
I got an emergency cell phone alert! The system worked finally! Except the noise was so awful I quickly closed the window without reading it and now I'm curious what it said. I think it was an Amber Alert? Is there a way to see the text without the noise?
— Ryan Oliver (@NuRyanOliver) May 14, 2018
Are you trying to find out how to opt-out of emergency wireless alerts sent from the Alert Ready system? It’s actually not possible to opt-out, as they are mandatory, according to the CRTC.
CRTC spokeswoman Patricia Valladao told the Canadian Press last month, “People cannot opt out of this,” adding, “There is a high importance that people — want it or not — receive these alerts.”
In order to receive a wireless alert, one must have a smartphone that is wireless public alerting (WPA) compatible and also connected to an LTE network. If you don’t want these alerts, technically you could turn off LTE and fall back to 3G data.
These wireless alerts are managed by Pelmorex Corp., the parent company of The Weather Network.
Did you get this wireless alert in Ontario? Was your phone on silent or did you have the ringer on? How’s your heart rate right now?
Update 12:15PM EDT: Looks like a second alert was sent out–this time in French.
Update 1:30PM EDT: Child found. A third amber alert was sent out to alert mobile users of the news.