Why did I get an Emergency Alert on my Phone?

Emergency alerts are designed to deliver “critical and potentially life-saving emergency alert messages” specific to your area.

Emergency alerts are designed to deliver “critical and potentially life-saving emergency alert messages”  specific to your area.  (Emergency Management Ontario). Each provincial and territorial government decides who has access to the national emergency alert system. Federal and provincial agencies including police, provincial emergency management organizations, and Environment and Climate Change Canada issue the most alerts in Canada. 

Alerts could be sent for the following reasons:

  • Severe weather;
  • Floods;
  • Fires;
  • Hazardous materials incident;
  • Terrorist threat;
  • Explosives;
  • Air quality;
  • Civil emergencies;
  • Test messages;
  • Water contamination;
  • Amber Alerts; and
  • Other threats to life, property and public safety

So far in the year 2020, 91 alerts have been issued within Canada, 58 of which were for tornadoes (Alert Ready).  

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free notifications that the public receives as part of a public safety system. 

For a device to be capable of receiving an alert it must be:

  • Capable of connecting to an LTE network;
  • Be running the latest version of its operating software; and
  • Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time an alert is issued, or joins the network while the alert is active

Wireless alerts are sent to help you see information that could potentially save either your life or someone else’s.  They can require immediate attention and specific actions to be taken.  Because of this, you do not have the choice to opt-out of receiving emergency alerts.  Emergency alerts are sent once to each compatible device that is in the alert area, or enters the alert area, during an active alert (Alert Ready).  They are an essential part of emergency preparedness plans as they have the power to quickly reach more people than the other alerts by themselves are able to.  

Read more on why you should receive wireless alerts here: https://www.imore.com/amber-alerts-your-iphone-what-they-are-and-how-manage-them 

Emergency alerts are not text messages, so they are not billed like a text message and do not count towards data usage.  They also do not collect any personal information about the individual devices they are sent to. 

Find more information on how to get emergency alerts on your cell phone here: https://peasi.com/2019/04/29/how-to-get-emergency-alerts-on-your-cell-phone/ 


Alertable is another great option of a way to receive emergency alerts on your phone.  It is a free downloadable app and will let you choose a variety of locations to receive alerts from.  For example, if your mother lives several hours away, you have a rental property in another location, or you are planning to go on vacation you can choose to be notified of all alerts in these areas as well as your own normal location.  Benefits of receiving alerts through Alertable include receiving more information in the alerts including a detailed map, the ability to share the alert, and a variety of options to choose from to receive alerts.  Examples of ways to receive alerts through Alertable besides SMS text include smart speakers, the Alertable website, FaceBook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, email, Twitter and Slack.

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

Read more on the Disaster Series:

To sign up for Alertable or to learn more visit https://alertable.ca

Apple App Store.  Google Play store

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