British Columbia

This is only a drill: B.C. to test emergency alert system Wednesday

The twice yearly test is part of the province's Alert Ready program that warns public of imminent disasters.

Twice yearly test is part of Alert Ready program that warns public of imminent disasters

B.C. tested its emergency alert system for the second time in 2018. It will be tested again Nov. 25, 2020 at 1:55 p.m. PT. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

British Columbians can expect their cellphones to sound an alarm Wednesday afternoon as the province tests its emergency alert system. 

On Nov. 25, a test of B.C.'s wireless alerting system will be conducted as part of the national Alert Ready system to improve public safety in the event of an emergency.  

The scheduled alert will be sent to all compatible cellphones and will be broadcast on radio and television stations at 1:55 p.m. PT.

The emergency alert system is tested twice a year to assess whether it's ready for an actual emergency. A scheduled test in May 2020 was cancelled across Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To receive alerts, mobile phones must be connected to a cellular network, be alert compatible, be within the alert area and have up-to-date cellular software. Alerts will be broadcast automatically at no cost to the user.

The Alert Ready system was launched in B.C. in April 2018, and it's meant to rapidly warn the public of any "imminent or unfolding hazards to life."

Residents who experience any issues can participate in a short online survey following the test.

The alert program is a collaborative initiative between the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

To find out if your wireless device is compatible with the Alert Ready system or for more information about the system, visit: