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Test of national emergency alert system to take place Wednesday afternoon

Canadians in most of the country's provinces and territories will receive an audible alarm on their compatible cellphone, television or radio Wednesday as Canada's Alert Ready system performs a test. The test will happen at 1:55 p.m. in Alberta.

The test alarm is set to go off in Alberta at 1:55 p.m.

A test of the national Alert Ready system is slated for Wednesday across Canada. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Canadians in most of the country's provinces and territories will receive an audible alarm on their compatible cellphone, television or radio Wednesday as Canada's Alert Ready system performs a test.

The test alarm is slated to go off at 1:55 p.m. in Alberta.

"The national system complements the Alberta Emergency Alert system, which issues alerts through radio, television, social media and cellphones for critical and emerging issues in Alberta," Kaycee Madu, Alberta's municipal affairs minister, said in a news release Tuesday.

He encouraged Albertans to download the Alberta Emergency Alert app to their cellphones.

"Alberta issues alerts to provide critical information about an immediate disaster, where it is happening and what action you need to take to stay safe," Madu said.

In May 2018, authorities tested the Alert Ready system over multiple days but many Canadians reported they didn't get the notifications on their devices. A second round of testing took place in November 2018.

The Alert Ready website notes not all devices will receive notifications.

"Device compatibility, software version, phone settings and connection to an LTE network can impact whether the alert is received," the organization says.

Phones not on an LTE mobile network when the alert is issued will not receive it, the website adds.

Make an emergency plan

There are three simple steps people can take to better prepare themselves and their families, said Rebecca Macklon, a personal preparedness program consultant.

"To know the risks in your community, to have a plan in place so you know what to do, where you'll go and how you'll keep in touch if a bad thing happens, and the third is to have an emergency kit," Macklon said.

The emergency kit should contain enough water and food supplies for the entire family, including pets, as well as a flashlight, first aid kit and hygiene supplies.

Including a "distraction item," such as a deck of playing cards, is also a good idea, she added.

The most common threats in Alberta include floods and wildfires, Macklon said.  Depending on where you live in the province there could be industrial accidents, such as a train derailment, she said.

The test of the national system Wednesday is to ensure the system is working properly, Macklon said.

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