St. John Valley

Canada will conduct wireless emergency alert test May 8

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — Local safety officials have announced that Public Safety Canada will test their version of a wireless emergency alert at approximately 4:55 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, May 8, which could generate some pickup in Maine.

According to Darren Woods, Aroostook County Emergency Management director, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) said Canada will test its alert system day via test messages that will be sent to wireless phones in all provinces except for Quebec and Ontario.

U.S. phones that are WEA capable and roaming on a Canadian cell network should receive the test message, Woods advised. The alert category and banner on a U.S. cell phone that receives the alert will be “Presidential Alert” above the box that has the message text in it.

The message text will probably be very similar to what Canada used in its test last year: “This is a TEST of the (province name) Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management (province name)…”

IPAWS has heard that U.S. phones have received some Canadian WEA alerts while in New York and Ohio across Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Note again that Quebec and Ontario – where the largest U.S. populations near the border are – are not sending test messages today, said Woods.

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