We are as excited as you are about emergency alerts coming to smartphones in Canada April 6, 2018. If you haven’t heard, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has mandated wireless cellular providers in Canada to broadcast critical, life-threatening emergency alerts to smartphones. You do not need to sign up for the service or to opt-in (in fact, you can’t opt-out, it’s mandatory).
Now, there are some caveats. Only some newer generation smartphones will be able to receive emergency alerts. Check if your smartphone is compatible here: https://www.alertready.ca/wireless/. And only those in the affected area are going to receive emergency alerts on their smartphone since the cell broadcast technology used provides narrow targeting of alert notifications.
This raises a number of questions. What if you don’t have a compatible smartphone? What if you are on a wifi connection and not a cellular one at the time? What if you have a tablet, like an iPad? What if you’re not in the area but are planning to go there (or have family, friends, colleagues, property there)? All excellent questions for which we have an answer: the Alertable app.
Alertable is available for iOS, Android and the Web. Alertable is connected to Canada’s public emergency alerting system, Alert Ready, that emergency managers use to issue emergency alerts (tornadoes, fires, floods) on TV, radio and, after April 6, 2018, on smartphones. Alertable is bi-lingual, accessibility-compliant, and easy to use! You can choose locations that you want to be alerted to, it has a follow-me feature to get alerts for your location while travelling, and a priority sound option so that you can be alerted to life-threatening emergencies even if your phone is silenced, on mute, or in do-not-disturb mode. And it works on tablets!
- If your smartphone is not compatible with wireless emergency alerts from your cellular provider but you still want to receive them…download the Alertable app.
- If your smartphone is often only connected to wifi and you still want to receive wireless emergency alerts…download the Alertable app.
- If you have a tablet and want to receive wireless emergency alerts…download the Alertable app.
- If you travel often and want to be alerted to any emergencies in a particular location…download the Alertable app.
If you live in Alberta or Saskatchewan (or travel there frequently) and have the Alberta Emergency Alert app or the SaskAlert app downloaded, you’re already covered. The Alberta Emergency Alert app and SaskAlert app have the same alerting technology as is in Alertable.
Even if you have a smartphone that is compatible with the new wireless public alert (WPA) technology, you can still download the Alertable app. The app will provide additional information such as a map of the affected area, instructions on how to remain safe, and updates on the overall situation. These updates won’t necessarily be issued as wireless public alerts. Once you receive a wireless public alert message, you can use the Alertable app to get more information and be automatically updated as the emergency unfolds.
Take care. Be prepared.
Download the Alertable app