Heed the Alarm: Lessons from Pickering | Tomorrow’s World

Heed the Alarm: Lessons from Pickering

Comment on this article

Bible prophecy gives us an “early-warning system” against end-time events and the Armageddon to come. Are you willing to heed the alert?

A Sunday morning in mid-January—the perfect time for doing things around the house. That is, until my phone began to buzz, crying out with an urgency that announced something more than a regular text message or phone call. The ring was louder, longer, and higher pitched than a normal notification. I was unaware at the time that millions of phones across Ontario were buzzing in a similar fashion.

My initial assumption was that this must be an Amber Alert—a text message from the police, asking all citizens to be on the lookout for a particular license plate or individual potentially associated with an abducted child. But what I read was not what I expected:

An incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation. People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time.

Operating safely since 1971, the Pickering nuclear plant is a seldom-thought-of aspect of life for most in the Greater Toronto Area. The facility houses six CANDU reactors producing 14 percent of Ontario’s power and is slated to begin the decommissioning process in 2028.

Yet, despite all the years of safe operation and the clear statement that action was not necessary, the words “An incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station” brought a flood of various scenarios to mind.

A False, But Educational, Alarm

The message was a false alarm and was rescinded via Twitter approximately 40 minutes later. A second text, sent nearly two hours after the initial message, confirmed that the warning had been sent in error. Countless individuals breathed a deep sigh of relief. However, the various disaster scenarios remained in our minds and raised questions of preparedness among many. Maclean’s magazine reported that a nuclear-safety website received more than 32,000 orders for potassium iodide pills in the following days (“Pickering’s plan for nuclear fallout,” February 18, 2020).

Shortly after the incident, the Durham Region published a news bulletin detailing the emergency response plan prepared for such an event. While many had slept through the first text and only learned about the error when they read the second text, in the event of an actual incident the warning system would be much more thorough:

If the province decides to [activate] the public alerting system, within 15 minutes public alerting sirens will sound for those within three kilometres of the plant. Homes within the 10 km zone will receive an automated call to their landlines (“What would happen if there actually was a nuclear accident in Durham?,” January 15, 2020).

The Durham Region article goes on to review evacuation plans as well as detail the various safety features of the plant and how long radiation could be stored within the facility before having to be released. The reality is that nuclear power is historically one of the safest forms of power generation available. Yet, threats of disaster still exist.

A Lesson for All

While your region may not have a nuclear station, there are few areas of the world that are not susceptible to some form of disaster. Often, these potential threats are the furthest things from our minds—until something goes wrong. While disaster preparation can be taken to extremes, there is wisdom in preparing for the unexpected. Take a few moments to consider the potential dangers and natural disasters in your area and find out what emergency plans are currently in place.

However, any disaster plan is useless if people do not recognize and act on warning signs. Plans are dependent on someone raising the alarm and those in danger responding to the warning. Had the first Pickering text accurately warned of disaster and no other call had gone out, how many would have seen the message in time? How many would have heeded the warning?

The book of Ezekiel contains a dire warning for those who hear a warning message, as well as for those responsible for sounding the alarm:

Whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand (Ezekiel 33:4–6).

Biblical prophecy outlines many events that will affect every man, woman, and child on the planet. While many early-warning systems call for evacuation or other measures to limit disaster, God’s word calls for obedience and drawing close to Him—His protection is the only certain form of safety in what lies ahead. Many of the events described in the Bible seem impossible to survive; however, the God powerful enough to predict world events thousands of years in advance is also powerful enough to protect those who obey Him. The words of King David in the Psalms make plain God’s ability to deliver His people from even the most horrifying of events:

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you (Psalm 91:4–7).

Prophesied Emergencies to Come

Much of biblical prophecy outlines the rise, motives, conflicts, and eventual fall of several end-time superpowers. These coming powers may not be who you think. Two of them, the “king of the North” and the “king of the South” about whom the prophet Daniel wrote (Daniel 11), will soon appear on the world scene—and life as we know it will be forever changed.

As with any early-warning system, it is vital that those in danger know what to watch for. God’s word, found in His Scriptures, provides a clear understanding of what to look for—and most importantly, how to react. To find out more, you can request free copies of Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return and Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled! or read them online. These will help you to examine the identity of the king of the North and the king of the South—and understand how they will reshape our world.


View All