May I have your attention please: Critical vs. Advisory alerts

Critical vs advisory alerts

In Alertable you’ll find there are three types of alerts:

  1. Critical
  2. Advisory
  3. Test

Test alerts, as the name implies, are issued when a test of emergency alerting systems is in progress. As we wrote about in a recent post, these tests have been happening for years. But what makes an alert Critical versus one that is an Advisory?

There are several factors that are taken into consideration to determine when an alert is Critical:

  • The severity of the event. This includes consideration for how threatening to life the effects of the event are. For example, a wildfire near a populated area may be considered severe, while a thunderstorm producing hail that may damage property would not.
  • The certainty of the event. An event that has been observed is more critical than one that is just expected to happen. For example, a tornado that has been seen to touch down would be certain, but an event when conditions are favourable for frost would not.
  • The urgency of the event. An event that is taking place immediately is more critical than one that is expected to happen in the future. For example, a drinking water advisory that is in-effect would have an immediate urgency since it would currently impact people, but a forecast blizzard would not.

To be considered Critical, an event is extremely severe (i.e. threatening to peoples’ lives), certain to be taking place because it’s been observed, and urgent because it will impact people immediately. When a Critical alert is issued, people in the affected area need to be prepared to take immediate action for their safety and security. For example, evacuation to an area of safety in response to a critical Wildfire alert, or reporting sightings of an abducted child to authorities in response to an AMBER alert.

Alerts with less severity, certainty or urgency are issued as Advisories. While these may not be immediately life-threatening, It’s still important to be aware of them, as they may pose a risk to property or a health concern, and could potentially escalate to become Critical if the situation worsens.

Take care. Be prepared.

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