Sunday night, Saskatchewan RCMP extended the Amber Alert for a missing six-year-old girl into Alberta, prompting the province to launch its multi-platform notification system.
“We use all the channels available,” Alberta Emergency Alert team lead Tim Trytten explained.
“We have the radio and television — which we’ve been used for years — social media, our mobile app.
“We don’t use one piece of a particular technology; we use all the channels available.”
The hope is to reach as many people as possible through whatever device they may be using. But it seems it didn’t reach everyone exactly as planned.
Alex H was watching a movie at his friend’s house on Sunday night. His friend’s cellphone buzzed and sounded the alarm while his — on a different network — sat silent.
“He got the sound and so he’s like: ‘Alex… What do I do?’ I was like: ‘I think that’s an Amber Alert. I think that means there’s a missing child or something.'”
It’s concerning that not everyone received the same emergency notification, Alex said
“Yes. Very much so… We can all see the weather. If it’s a missing child, I think that’s more concerning to me because you’re not going to know.”
Saskatchewan had dissemination issues as well.
“We utilized the Sask Alert system,” RCMP Cpl. Rob King said. “We inputted the information into the Sask Alert system, then we noticed a short while later it had not gone out. We did it again and then the alert went out shortly after that. Why there was a problem with it is something you’re going to have to ask Sask Alert.”
The little girl was found Monday morning. She was conscious, RCMP said, and reunited with her parents.
Trytten said there’s no way to tell exactly how many phones did or did not receive the notification.
“Because of the technology that’s used, we have no way of knowing that,” he said.
“The signal is broadcast and if you have an LTE-compatible device and you’re in the area, you receive the signal,” Trytten said. “If not, you won’t.”
He said the province has used the Wireless Public Alert (WPA) system seven times since April for various emergencies.
“We’ve had some high water events, we’ve had some flash flooding, wildfire and a couple of tornadoes.”
I’m with @Rogers and didn’t get the alert also. But my bf who’s with Telus did. 🤔 didn’t get the test also.— 𝕛. (@johmcanton) September 17, 2018
I’ve heard in the past if you were on 3G network you wouldn’t get alerts.— Nevin deMilliano (@SwiftChaser) September 17, 2018
I got it on both my Freedom phone and Rogers phone. Freedom phone also got an alert from the Weather Network.— Kirby Bourne (@Kirby_Bourne) September 17, 2018
I’m with @telusmobility running Android Oreo on BlackBerry KEYone and did not get this alert nor the one in May.— Steve Partridge (@stevepar1960) September 17, 2018