Folks in the area might hear a startling alarm sounding from their pockets on Wednesday afternoon.

Phones will be buzzing with emergency alerts around 1:55 p.m. as part of national testing by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA).

Tamie Vandeven, the program support director for the SPSA, said the bi-annual routine is to test the capability of their alerting system.

"It's critical to allow all our partners to test standards and protocols and equipment," she said. "So, in event of an actual emergency situation, the public will be notified as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can take action to protect themselves."

A message will accompany the noise, clarifying the test run; in a real emergency, instructions would be provided for the public on what steps to take next.