Emergency Alert Information

Nova Scotians can now receive messages about life-threatening emergencies directly to their cell phones. Wireless public alerting is a national system that can send life-saving emergency alert messages directly to compatible smartphones connected to an LTE network.

On May 9, 2018 at 1:55 pm, EMO Nova Scotia will be issuing a test alert of the public alerting system, as part of Emergency Preparedness Week. This will be the first time cell phones will receive a test alert. The test begins with a loud alert sound, followed by a spoken message through television and radio and a message on cell phone screens. If the cell phone is switched off or on silent mode, there will be no sound but a banner will be displayed and the phone may vibrate if the phone is in silent mode.

To hear what sound to expect during the test or to find out about cell phone compatibility, visit www.alertready.ca . Please feel free to share this information.

A release about this has been sent out by CNS. There will also be advertisements and social media posts regarding the test alert beginning today. Please feel free to share those posts and inform your constituents about the event.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. You will find messages below.

Alert Ready

Alert Ready is designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians through television and radio.

Starting April 6th, in addition to TV and Radio, Alert Ready will be sending emergency alerts to cell phones and wireless devices that are compatible with Wireless Public Alerting (WPA). In order for emergency alerts to be received on a wireless device, three conditions must be met. The wireless device must be:

An LTE-device like a smartphone (LTE is commonly referred to as “4G LTE”)
Wireless public alerting (WPA)-compatible
Connected to an LTE cellular network at the time the emergency alert is issued.

On May 9, 2018, at 1:55 pm, EMO Nova Scotia will be issuing a test alert of the public alerting system, as part of Emergency Preparedness Week. This will be the first time cell phones will receive a test alert. Each province and territory, with the exception of Nunavut, will run such a test next week.

Key Messages

Using multiple communication channels during emergency situations will help reach Nova Scotians more quickly so they can take action if necessary.

The use of cell phones to communicate an emergency allows officials to reach people wherever they are and target a specific area where there is imminent danger.


Q// Who sends emergency alerts?

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are responsible for issuing emergency alerts.

Federally, emergency alerts are issued most frequently by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Each provincial or territorial government decides who will have the authority to issue alerts within their jurisdictions. Currently emergency alerts will be issued by our provincial Emergency Management Office. As time passes, municipal emergency management offices or local police and fire departments may possibly also issue these alerts.

Media companies, including television, radio stations, cable and satellite distributors, as well as websites receive these emergency alerts and relay them to their consumers.

Q// Can I choose which way an emergency alert is sent to me?

No. Regulations require all commercial, campus, community and Indigenous radio and television broadcasters, cable, satellite and IPTV providers, as well as wireless service providers to distribute emergency alerts.

There is no sign-up or opt-in required. Emergency alerts will be automatically sent through these broadcast channels, and to your compatible wireless device.

You cannot opt out of receiving threat-to-life emergency alerts.

Q// Will emergency alerts be for my specific area?


Q// Are these emergency alerts sent as a text message?

No. While the emergency alert may look like a text message it is not a text message.

Emergency alerts are sent via Cell Broadcast distribution. Cell Broadcast is a mobile technology that allows messages to be broadcast to all compatible wireless devices within a designated geographical area. Cell Broadcast is designed for simultaneous message delivery to multiple users in a specified area, and is not affected by network congestion because it uses dedicated part of the network, separate from that used for traditional voice and data traffic.

Cell Broadcast can be compared to radio broadcast. Radio towers broadcast music to people in defined geographic areas as long as the individuals can pick-up the broadcast signal and have their radios turned on. Cell Broadcast messages similarly are delivered to those compatible wireless devices that are within range of cell towers and antennas in the designated area. Location services do not have to be enabled on your wireless device to be able to receive alerts.

Q// What are the alert types?

They vary – urban fires, industrial fires, wildfire, tornado, flash flood, earthquake, hurricanes, drinking water contamination, biological or chemical weapons, explosive device, terrorist attack, Amber Alert, civil emergency, animal danger.

Q// Where can I learn more?