Chelsey Fulford’s phone emitted a harsh, metallic siren. Then her mother’s phone went off. Then the phones of everyone working on the roof went off in a confusing concerto.
Brief alarm gave way to both amusement, apathy and everything in between not only for the Fulford residence but all of Agassiz-Harrison following an accidental re-test of B.C.’s Emergency Alerting System on Wednesday, May 12. This came one week to the day after the scheduled test on May 5.
Some residents reported multiple alarms on not only their smart devices but on their TVs as well.
“At first, I thought nothing about it, but after it went off about four times on my phone and three times on my TV, I was getting to wonder what the heck was going on,” said Donnie Kerr Chettleborough.
Terri Marshall said she was startled by the sudden alarm and threw her phone across the room, only to discover it was only a test.
Other residents reported no alert at all on their phones or TVs.
The B.C. emergency misfire was not nearly as sobering as the Hawaii missile-alert mistake of 2018, in which a broadcasted alert read “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The warning was rescinded nearly 40 minutes later, which prompted Canada to revisit their own emergency system in the event of an incoming missile.
In the end, most locals said they were reassured that the alert system continues to work properly and moved on with their day.