Emergency alert in N.L. is late, and non-existent for others

Emergency alert in N.L. is late, and non-existent for others

Mobile phone users in Newfoundland and Labrador were at the ready at 1:55 p.m. local time Wednesday, at which time a message was supposed to appear on screens while an alarm sounded.

But that moment came and went with neither of those elements happening.

At around 2:05 p.m., some people did receive the emergency alert.​

The tests are being conducted across the country by Alert Ready, operators of Canada’s new emergency alert system.

The CRTC had ordered wireless providers to implement the system to distribute warnings of imminent safety threats, such as tornadoes, floods, Amber Alerts or terrorist threats.

Social media was abuzz with the late — and in some cases, nonexistent — alert.

I was not chosen to survive. Silence from #AlertReady

Definitely encouraging to see the emergency alert system working extremely poorly straight out of the gate

As much as we have been prepared for the emergency alert test, it still frightened the crap out of me. #TooMuchCoffee

I don’t love the idea that the government can text me when ever it wants, regardless of how noble the reason. #EmergencyAlert

Municipal Affairs and Environment is the provincial government department that oversees the use of the system.  A spokesperson told CBC News the delay was due to a “minor adjustment to the program shortly before the scheduled test time of 1:55 p.m” made by Pelmorex, the company that operates the alert system, and is responsible for the tests.

“Pelmorex will issue a report in approximately a month about the results of the test for all provinces in Canada, including some aspects of how the system test was received in Newfoundland and Labrador,” wrote a department spokesperson in an email.

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At the Avalon Mall in St. John’s on Wednesday afternoon, the majority of a group of friends — Grade 12 students at Gonzaga High School — sitting around a table in the food court said they received the alert, but two out of the five did not.

“It was just really weird because that high-pitched noise, it was really just alarming and I was just like, ‘Wow, what’s happening’ and I looked at my phone and there was nothing there,” said Tatianna Beresford.

Lauren Guiny, who did receive the alert, said she thinks it’s a helpful resource.

“It’s pretty important … we should all be in the know if something big is happening,” she said.

Earlier this week, the first of the testing was marred with glitches in Ontario and Quebec.

Alert Ready blamed the Quebec malfunction — which saw no users receive an alert — on a computer coding error. Only some people received the signal in Ontario. The company is still investigating what went wrong there.

On its website, Alert Ready says not all mobile devices can receive the alerts.

The emergency alert system was also being tested on Wednesday in all other provinces and territories, except Nunavut.

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