Ontario’s emergency alert system updated following false Pickering nuclear plant alert

The false alert was sent out accidentally during an internal test last month

The government of Ontario says that it has improved the emergency alert system following a false alarm at the Pickering nuclear plant.

A mass alert that notified residents of an “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station was sent province-wide on January 12th. After hours of concern, the government confirmed that the alert was sent in error during an internal test.

“The investigation concluded that while the immediate cause was human error, there were several systemic issues that contributed to both the false alert and the delay in issuing a cancellation,” said Slyvia Jones, the Solicitor General of Ontario, in a statement.

Jones confirmed that the alert was sent during a test. The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre performs routine testing of the public alert system twice a day to ensure that it’s working and available in case of an emergency.

However, on January 12th, one of the messages was sent through the live public alerting system rather than through the test system.

Jones says she’s confident that the actions taken to address the gaps brought to light by the investigation are going to make the emergency alert system stronger.

Source: Government of Ontario