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Emergency alert test to hit B.C. cellphones, TV, radio Wednesday afternoon

B.C. is testing its emergency alert system on Wednesday afternoon. Global News

Mobile phones across British Columbia are set to chirp and buzz in unison as officials conduct an annual test of Canada’s emergency alerting system.

The test is scheduled for 1:55 p.m. PT, and coincides with Emergency Preparedness Week.

Click to play video: 'BC River Forecast Centre  provides update on flooding'
BC River Forecast Centre provides update on flooding

“With the spring hazard season now upon us, we’re reminded of just how important it is for all of us – the Province, communities and people across British Columbia – to be prepared for the unexpected,” Emergency Preparedness and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma said in a media release.

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“During Emergency Preparedness Week, we encourage everyone to get prepared by taking a few simple steps, such as creating a grab-and-go bag and making an emergency plan. By taking these steps now, we can all help ensure that our families and communities are ready in the event of an emergency.”

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Wednesday’s test will send the alert to compatible mobile phones, and will also involve broadcasts to television and radio stations.

The alert will be clearly labelled as a test.

Intrusive mobile alerts were used three times over the weekend in British Columbia to send wildfire evacuation orders to people in northeastern British Columbia.

Click to play video: 'Weather helps B.C. flooding, hampers firefighting efforts'
Weather helps B.C. flooding, hampers firefighting efforts

The province expanded the use of the National Public Alerting system beyond tsunami alerts last year, to include flood, wildfire and extreme heat threats.

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Police are also able to use the system for civil emergencies and Amber Alerts.

At a Monday briefing on spring flood and wildfire threats, Ma urged the public to ensure they have an emergency plan, an emergency kit and a ‘grab-and-go’ bag prepared in case of an evacuation order or alert.

She said British Columbians can also pre-register for emergency support services, which will speed up their ability to get help in the case of an evacuation.

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