Amber Alert scares the heck out of everyone in Toronto
Remember last week when safety officials promised to "test" the national emergency alert system on every mobile phone in Ontario at the same time?
Most of us were ready for a jarring beep or lengthy vibration at 1:55 p.m. last Monday, just like we were warned to be. And yet, most of us didn't receive anything at all, ever. Not from AlertReady.
It was kind of a let down, to be honest.
In the absence of a test alert on May 7, some Ontarians were left to wonder if the system even worked.
Then they wondered about other things, moved on with their lives, and maybe even forgot about Monday's half-failed alert test altogether.
That changed this morning when, around 11:35 a.m., a chilling "air raid siren" rang out through offices, homes and public spaces all over the province.
So in a meeting and 20 phones go off simultaneously with the new alert system. Scared the hell out of us but got our attention for the #AmberAlert.— Kristin Taylor (@kristinlisa) May 14, 2018
But worth noting that only personal phones got the alert. OPS work phones didn't.
The emergency warning was to notify everyone in Ontario of an Amber Alert for 8-year-old Gabriel McCallum, who was last seen in Gorham Township (near Thunder Bay).
WOW THAT #AMBERALERT. It should NOT make that noise! My involuntary impulse was just to make it stop, so there is no way I read/retained it before closing it. I did take a screencap though in case anyone else also closed it without thinking. pic.twitter.com/1eQ0USao77— Audra Marie Williams (@audrawilliams) May 14, 2018
It wasn't the type of tone we're used to hearing from our smartphones, especially every phone in the room at once, which made it kind of scary (though I guess that's the point.)
CAN CONFIRM THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM NOW WORKS ON CELL PHONES *clutches chest*— dai in revolt 🇨🇦🇨🇴 (@daibyday) May 14, 2018
People who were speaking on the phone at the time had their conversations interrupted, briefly, by the alert, while others jumped up and looked around like "WTF?"
They need to change the notification sounds for the #emergencyalert . An amber alert, as important as it is, should not have the same alarm as an incoming nuke. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.— 🌙💖 @ ANIME NORTH (@sailormoron) May 14, 2018
Onatrio has decided to fold Amber Alerts for the *entire province* into its push notification Emergency Alert system.— Molly Sauter (@OddLetters) May 14, 2018
I've received two Amber Alerts today for Thunder Bay, which is 15 hours away from Toronto by car.
Congrats, you have trained me to ignore Emergency Alerts.
A second alert for the same case come through around noon, this time in French.
Again, people were startled. Did I mention that this alert sounds exactly like the Cold War-Era nuclear missile warnings we've been seeing in movies our entire lives?
I wish this amber alert didn’t make me almost crash more then once as it’s quite loud and scary for your phone to keep going off. I think one amber alert on my phone is just fine. need to fix the system so that it doesn’t keep alerting people excessively— xox.scarlett.love (@xoxscarlettlov1) May 14, 2018
And that it's super loud?
Just got an amber alert at full volume and nearly shit my pants. Unreal! I hate this. I'm all for locating missing children but the air raid siren just made half the office spill their coffee. pic.twitter.com/1x3DY5QjBG— which side are ya on (@hoverbeaver) May 14, 2018
Well, I think it's safe to say that the alert system works, even if some people aren't happy about the way it works.
Ontario police using the new alert ready system every 10 minutes for the same amber alert? I appreciate missing children are an important concern, but overuse of alert ready system will lead to user ignoring disaster scale warnings. #emergencyalert #usesparingly @OntarioPolice— roelvertegaal (@roelvertegaal) May 14, 2018
Police say that anyone who sees Gabriel MCCallum or Lynda McCallum, the person believed to have taken him, should call 9-1-1.
Update: The Amber Alert issued in Thunder Bay, ON was cancelled around 12:45 p.m. Monday. Police say the child has been located.
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