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ALERT! ALERT! NWT going ‘Alert Ready’ on Wednesday

When you hear the Air Attack warning, you and your family must take cover…

Or something. The NWT switches on its Alert Ready system for a live test on Wednesday, and it probably won’t feature Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Just before 2pm, a test public alert will be broadcast across radio stations and cable TV in the territory – including Moose FM.

“NWT Alert Ready is being developed to provide public alerts to NWT residents during emergencies and disasters and is part of the national Alert Ready system,” said a territorial government statement on Monday.

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“Testing will continue over the next several months to confirm functionality and reliability of the system before it is put into operational use beginning in 2016.

“During that time, additional work will take place to help fully implement the system. This test is part of efforts by the GNWT, in cooperation with NWT broadcasters, to ensure the public receive alerts immediately and know when to take action to keep you and your loved ones safe.”

The statement does not come with a list of what might feasibly trigger the public alert system in future.

However, the Alert Ready national website lists a few possible reasons for deploying emergency broadcasts. Among them:

  • Wildfires
  • Chemical, biological or radiological substances – or drinking water contamination
  • A decrease in air quality
  • Terrorist threat
  • Animal danger (“when a wild or domesticated animal poses a threat to human life or property”)
  • Amber alerts regarding child abduction
  • A “worldwide disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field”

And if you’re wondering what to expect, there’s a demo of the public alert klaxon. Which does not sound much like this:

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