emergency alert ontario

Ontario tests emergency alert system and people assumed nukes were flying

No, the world isn't ending (yet). That blaring siren coming from your phone was all just a terrifying, unbelievably poorly timed test of Ontario's Alert Ready system.

One that just so happened to coincide with another wave of World War 3 paranoia across the globe.

The loud warning ripped through mobile device speakers across the province just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, but unfortunately for the fragile mental states of pretty much all of us these days, the test came amid heightened global tensions, with phrases like "WW3" already trending on social media before the alert shattered millions of eardrums.

The warning appeared on devices across the province, accompanied by fine print clarifying that "This is a test of the Ontario Alert Ready System. There is no danger to your health or safety. If this was an actual emergency, you would now hear instructions for protecting yourself."

How very reassuring.

But those following world news might have been a bit jumpy from the alert, to say the least, as the world is currently on edge after a missile landed in Poland — a NATO member state — killing two.

The incident has invoked Article 4 of NATO's treaty (not the much scarier Article 5 that would indeed send us all into a global conflict), and the last thing anyone paying attention to the global tensions needed was to hear the exact same type of alert you'd get once the missiles started flying.

It's becoming clear that this incident was likely not an intentional strike by Russia, but between all the talk of Article 5 and Ukraine's continued successes in pushing back invading forces, there's a fear that things could escalate.

Throwing in an emergency alert seems to have tapped into those fears.

If this kind of thing sounds familiar, a similar coincidence of events occurred at the dawn of the current Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, when an Amber Alert triggered apocalyptic fears as Russian forces poured over Ukrainian borders.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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