Alert Ready Test November 17, 2021

Alert Ready Test Survey from PEASI

On November 17, 2021, provincial and territorial emergency officials with the exception of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, conducted tests of Alert Ready, Canada’s National Public Alert System. These alerts were sent via radio, television, LTE compatible wireless devices, and other third-party emergency alert products such as Alertable.

The one-way broadcast nature of most Alert Ready distribution channels such as radio, television, and LTE compatible wireless devices do not provide a direct way for the public to provide feedback on alerts received, including test alerts. Therefore, Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc (PEASI) again took the initiative to solicit feedback from the November 17, 2021 test, with a specific interest in the effectiveness of the wireless alerting channel.

PEASI created an online survey and asked the Canadian public to complete it. The survey was widely shared via municipal officials, social media, news organizations, and on the Alert Ready website before and during the tests.  In total there were 5336 responses which is an increase of 7.9% from the last survey conducted in May of 2021.  This can be attributed to the increased number of provinces choosing to participate in the test alert as many chose not to participate in the last test, largely because of COVID-19 priorities. 

Survey responses came from:

  • 52.2%- Ontario
  • 23.7% – Quebec
  • 9.0% – Prince Edward Island
  • 15.1% – Combination of all other participating Canadian provinces/territories

115 responses were received for other locations besides the provinces/territories participating.

Success of the test alert:

  • 92.6% reported receiving the wireless test alert
  • 7.4% reported not receiving the test alert
  • An increase of 4.5% was reported in the success rate from the last test alert in May 2021

Success rate by province:

  • Alberta- 90%
  • Manitoba-89%
  • New Brunswick-53%
  • Newfoundland and Labrador-70%
  • Nova Scotia-82%
  • Ontario-96%
  • Prince Edward Island-89%
  • Quebec-91%
  • Saskatchewan-97%
  • Yukon-100%

Next to wireless alerts, the most popular distribution methods were third-party mobile apps and television.  Radio and social media were also ways that the alert was received.  57.8% of respondents reported having received a real alert for a recent emergency in addition to the most recent test alert. 

Many respondents commented on the Alert Ready system in general, and specifically about Amber alerts. Some commented they did not want to receive Amber alerts at all, or not at night, and many others commented that these alerts should be targeted to smaller regions. Many comments supporting the use of Alert Ready for Amber alerts were also received. 

For those with issues receiving the alert:

  •  54% came from those with Android devices 
  • 41.9% were using Apple devices
  • 58% reported having received a previous alert
  • 33.8% of respondents were using Telus as their service provider, 30.3% were using Bell and 13.4% were using Rogers.

For those who have devices not compatible with the Alert Ready system, Alertable is a great option to ensure that you still receive emergency alerts.  Alertable is able to send notifications more than 15 different ways allowing increased recipient choice and increased compatibility with systems like Alert Ready.

Suggested Improvements:

One of the survey questions asked, “If you could improve one thing about emergency alerts what would it be?”  The following are the top five responses:

  • Be able to override device settings, specifically volume, vibrate and silence/do not disturb modes.
  • Change the sound. While some thought it should be louder, most think it is too intrusive and that different sounds should be used for different types of alerts.  For example, different tones for a test alert, an Amber Alert, or another type of emergency. 
  • Have the ability to opt-out of some or all alerts. Some respondents suggested having tiers of alerts, with the ability to disable tests and less severe alerts.
  • Ensure more people receive them and that more warning is given out ahead of the test alert.  Older cell phones and those without cell phones are examples of those not receiving alerts. Both email and landline databases were suggested as possible solutions as well as a downloadable app and social media. 
  • Improve the headline and description of the event.  The alert information should be more clear and improve the content and display (e.g. include pictures, video, language translation, use rich text, etc). A link should also be provided to ensure people know where to go to get more information. 


To read the Alert Ready test survey report in its entirety click here


What are other tips we could talk about? Leave a comment below and let us know.


Read more on our Disaster Series:

What does Civil Emergency Alert Mean?

How do I get Severe Weather Alerts?

What to do Before, During and After an Earthquake

Disaster Fatigue and COVID-19

Floods: How to prepare and respond

Storm Season: Tornadoes

How do you Prepare for an Emergency Evacuation?

Air Quality and Forest Fires

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