Pat Drummond :: life & technology

May 20, 2019

Reaction to the Ontario Amber Alert May 14

Just after midnight Tuesday, the guardian of a 3-year old boy reported the mother had not returned him. At 3:05 am Sudbury police confirmed the pair had taken a bus from Sudbury to Toronto on Monday evening. The Amber Alert went out Tuesday at 5 am to all of eastern Ontario using the Public Alert System. The boy was found in Toronto 2 hours later.  (more...)

Discussion about the Alert on social media:

"I think Amber alerts on phones are a fine idea, but they should target them. Don’t wake people up when there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that they will be anywhere near the suspects."

"(Alert for child on a bus to Toronto) Yes, I am suggesting that the bus company would be able to contact one bus to find out where it is. If the powers that be are willing to wake up the whole &*#$ province, they can inconvenience slightly the passengers on one bus to ascertain if these people are one it."

"If you have a home full of mobile devices, I feel for you as the alert hits each one at different times."

"The last amber alert turned out to be vengeful parent and the police didn't check before sending out the alert ... that boils my blood."

"It's ineffective security theatre to use the same system and mode of operation for amber alerts as for evacuation alerts and imminent disasters."

"On my phone all alert noises get blocked by 'do not disturb' settings, which is a problem when it comes to an actual emergency that affects me personally."

"I fear an accident if that thing blares while I am driving. At least, I don't have to worry about my phone, because it doesn't receive any of these."

"I saw a cylist get shocked dangerously by the prev. Amber alert. He was passing a long line of people on the sidewalk, so 30 phones went off all at once .."

"My understanding was that in the US, alerts have multiple urgency tiers. The Ontario implementation mandates the use of the top, presidential alert, tier."

"I fear an accident if that thing blares while I am driving..."

"Was watching tv with earphones.. nearly had a heart attack!"

"when I got the tornado alert, my priority ..was making the alert be silent as quickly as possible rather than reading it. It's sheer chance that I didn't drive into the tornado itself because I'd already developed the "silence this quickly" reflex from the amber alerts."

A few things to know about Public Alerts:

Canada's National Public Alerting System (NPAS) provides emergency management organizations with the ability to rapidly warn the public of life-threatening hazards through radio, television, email, text services and on compatible wireless devices.
  • A compatible wireless device that is turned off will not receive an emergency alert. When the device is powered on and the emergency alert is still active and the user is still in the alert area, then the wireless device will display the alert.
  • The alert alarm volume uses your phone's volume setting.
  • Android users can find the alert here it's still active:
        Messenger app > Settings > Advanced > Wireless Alerts
  • If you are receiving repeated alerts of the same message, your device may have a "Reminder" feature turned on, which you will need to turn off.
  • You will only receive Canadian emergency alerts that occur where you are located in Canada. When traveling in other countries, alerts would be based on the rules for that country.
  • If your wireless device is set to silent, no sound will accompany the emergency alert message. However, this behavior may depend on your wireless device. In some instances the alert sound may override your user settings.
Canada's Emergency Alert System: