A technical issue prevented the automatic Emergency Alert System from promptly warning residents of Sunday night’s Amber Alert involving a young girl from North Battleford.
Saskatchewan RCMP issued the Alert at 7:30 Sunday evening.
Shortly after that it reached public radio and TV, however it took until around 8:30 pm before the SaskAlert Mobile app sent out the message, and even later before the automatic push alert reached cell phones which ended up being 10:30 pm.
This is being attributed to a text message alert error through wireless providers.
Martin Bélanger Director of Public Alerting with Pelmorex which operates the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination (NAAD) system that sends the messages said in a statement:
At 7:31 PM local time, the Saskatchewan RCMP initiated a province-wide Amber Alert. The alert was successfully entered and then distributed through the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System to TV, radio broadcasters and wireless service providers. TV and radio stations immediately received and broadcast the Amber Alert to viewers and listeners. The wireless service providers experienced an error when the alert was received at their end. The issue was escalated immediately and the NAAD System team provided support to help partners to resolve the issue. Preliminary investigation determined the issue originated in technology used by carriers to distribute alerts. A solution was found and the wireless alert was sent in Saskatchewan at 10:28 PM local time. The RCMP subsequently extended the Amber Alert to Alberta and Manitoba. These alerts were delivered successfully within seconds to all distributors (TV, Radio, Wireless, Social, etc.).
The Alert Ready system is in place to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians through television, radio, and as of this spring, compatible, LTE-connected wireless phones. Since April of this year, over 70 emergency alerts have been successfully issued and delivered to compatible wireless devices. Wireless public alerting is one tool used to deliver emergency alerts to Canadians, in addition to well-established TV and Radio broadcasters, social media, etc. The Alert Ready system is developed in partnership with federal, provincial and territorial emergency management officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Pelmorex, the broadcasting industry and wireless service providers – each committed to delivering these alerts in a timely manner for the protection of all Canadians.
The government said they are working to make sure emergency alerts are more promptly distributed in the future.