Public Alert System Tests: They Have Been Happening for Years

Emergency Alert Test

The Alert Ready Wireless tests in May 2018 received a lot of attention, but did you know that the Canadian National Public Alerting System (NPAS), otherwise known as AlertReady, has been conducting regular tests like this for years?

Canadians are likely more aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) tests that the United States conducts. These tests are well depicted in movies and on TV shows and have been run for a lot longer than the AlertReady tests. There was recently a nationwide test of the U.S. system and here is a sample that was captured by a TV viewer and uploaded to YouTube. The look and sounds of this test are designed to get your attention and are specific to EAS.

But if you’ve never seen a Canadian AlertReady test before on TV, you might not have been aware of the differences. The beginning of any AlertReady test will start with the Canadian Alerting Attention Signal. This sound is specific to Canada and is designed to get your attention. If you are watching TV, you should then see either a full screen or partial section of the screen, with text scrolling by with the test message being both visible to read, as well as an audio recording of this text. If you are listing to a radio, you would only hear the audio recording. Wireless tests will show the test details in a special text message. These tests all follow the NPAS Common Look and Feel Guidance.

When an AlertReady test is conducted, its designed to activate all the various alerting distribution methods (radio, TV, wireless, apps, etc) at once for a large area, usually a whole province. Here is an example of a test that was captured by a TV viewer in Alberta and uploaded to YouTube.

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