GNWT to test public alert system on Wednesday, May 4

The NWT government will test its public alert system on Wednesday at 9:55am. If you’re in the NWT, expect an alarm on your cellphone and a message on radio and cable TV.

Some residents will not receive alerts, the territory said in a Tuesday news release, based on device compatibility, connection to an LTE network, cell tower coverage and other factors.

Service providers and broadcasters typically send out two test alerts each year, usually in May during the nationwide Emergency Preparedness Week and again in November.


The alert system is designed to ensure that critical information about wildfires, floods, winter power outages, Amber Alerts and infrastructure failures can be broadcast year-round.

The national Alert Ready system launched in 2015 and became available on cellphones in 2018. The warnings are created and issued by police departments, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and provincial and territorial bodies.

Last year, the GNWT decided not to test the system due to concerns a test would be confused with a genuine flood alert. The Canada-wide test date had been set for the same week that flood risk was rising in Hay River and the Dehcho.