How to get emergency alerts on your cell phone?

People living or travelling in Canada can get emergency alerts on their cell phones. For some emergencies, these alerts are received automatically for those in the effected area with a compatible smartphone. Our Alertable app is a great companion to wireless alerting to make sure you can get emergency alerts on your cell phone!

As of April 6, 2018, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has required that all wireless service providers in Canada broadcast critical, life-threatening emergency alerts to compatible smartphones. You do not need to sign up for the service or to opt-in (you actually can not opt-out, which has caused some annoyance with recent AMBER Alerts in Ontario and Alberta).

However, not all devices are capable of receiving an alert. For your cell phone to receive a wireless emergency alert, it must:

  • Be capable of connecting to an LTE network (LTE is commonly referred to as “4G LTE”)
  • Have a very recent version of its operating software
  • Be connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued or while the alert is still active

What this means is not everyone will get these wireless emergency alerts sent by cell phone carriers. Older cell phones that operate exclusively on non-LTE networks will not get these emergency alerts. Anyone outside the defined geographic area at the time the alert is issued will not receive them. And there are some areas in Canada where LTE network coverage is limited or unavailable, so anyone in those areas will not get a wireless emergency alerts either.

To ensure you get emergency alerts on your cell phone, you can download the Alertable app. Alertable is available for iOS, Android and on the Web. Alertable is connected to Canada’s public emergency alerting system, Alert Ready, the same system emergency managers use to issue wireless emergency alerts, as well as alerts that appear on TV and radio.

As we wrote in our article How to get emergency alerts on your smartphone if it is not compatible, there are a number of reasons that Alertable is a great companion to wireless emergency alerts in Canada:

  • If your smartphone is not compatible with wireless emergency alerts from your cellular provider
  • If your smartphone is often only connected to wifi
  • If you want to receive alerts on other devices, like a tablet
  • If you are travelling and away from home or work when and emergency strikes
  • If you have family, friends or property in a other locations and want be be alerted for emergencies there
  • If you want to receive alerts for more types of emergencies, including less severe weather advisories
  • If you want additional information about alerts, Alertable provides more details than can be sent in a wireless emergency alert from your cellular provider

The Alert Ready emergency alerting system will be tested in all provinces and territories on May 8, 2019, on compatible wireless devices and in the Alertable app. So to make sure you can get emergency alerts on your cell phone, there’s never been a better time to download the Alertable app!

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