New Public Alert System Is Here to Stay

Many Called 911 to Complain About the TV Interruptions During Sunday Night's Amber Alert... What Do You Think?

I remember when they were installing the technology here regarding the new National Public Alert System which was used for the first time by Orillia O.P.P. on Sunday night in a broadcast of an urgent Amber Alert for what at the time appeared to be an abducted child in the City of Orillia.

When the workers came into our building to install the new equipment that was going to be enabled to over-ride our existing programming by various government services, and for them to be able to virtually take over the radio station and take control of the broadcast at any particular time with a robotic voice which would broadcast details of severe weather warnings or various states of emergency conjured up images of Big Brother coming in to take over our lives.

After all, we have been handling and broadcasting local emergencies for years.  We’re trained and prepared to be the “voice” for regional residents in the event of a natural disaster to provide details on what’s going on, what to do, or even where you need to go in the case of an emergency.  Why is it we would need a system to be able to take over from us in the event of tornado warnings or any other type of natural disaster?

Well, it happened for the first time on Sunday night.  Not only on radio stations across the province, but on everyone’s television set all at the same time to broadcast the enhanced Amber Alert numerous times before the Alert was eventually cancelled.

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Many people were taken by surprise while watching their Sunday evening television shows as this was the first time we have seen the system actually used  in a real case scenario.  Some people even complained of the intrusive service interrupting their private television viewing.  The O.P.P. make no apologies for using it and are thankful to be able to use every tool at their disposal to try to locate a presumed missing person.

The new intrusive technology is here to stay.  It’s installed and will be used now more and more.  In time we’ll get used to the intrusive alerts, and we also have to get used to government’s being able to reach us with their message wherever we are.