To bring the UK in line with other countries such as US, Canada and Japan, the UK government cabinet office will be testing a UK-wide life-saving Emergency Alert service on 3pm Sunday 23rd April 2023. Below we give details explaining the ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘when’ for the test alert and extracted from the government website www.gov.uk/alerts
Some information also for any future real alerts.
Why – Emergency Alerts enable urgent messages to be broadcast quickly to tell residents in villages for example when there is an imminent risk to life, such as severe flooding or encroaching wild-fires. This service will support a UK wide policing response with other emergency service agencies to critical incidents.
How – a message will be received on the home page of switched on 4G and 5G mobile phones * or tablet (see also below compatible devices) comprising a loud siren-like sound, vibration and read out alert for up to 10 seconds, even if mobile switched to silent. No action is required, the test will stop automatically after 10 seconds. Then simply swipe away the message or click ’ok’ to continue as normal with phone use. The emergency services and the UK government do not need your phone number to send you an alert.
Follow the link for an example sound and the test message.
When – Emergency Alert test will take be made at 3pm Sunday 23rd April 2023. Previous pilot tests of the emergency alert have been successfully completed in Reading and East Suffolk.
Future real alerts – Will include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information. The alert will include clear instructions about how to stay safe. Alerts will be based upon your current location, NOT where you live or work. You do not need to turn on location services on your device to receive alerts. The system will be used very rarely, only being sent where there is an immediate life threatening risk – so the public may not receive an alert for months/years.
When you get an alert, stop what you’re doing and follow the instructions in the alert. However, if driving/riding you should not respond to an emergency alert. Find somewhere safe and legal to stop before reading the message.
Compatible mobile phones and other devices
Make sure your device has all the latest software updates. Emergency alerts work on: iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later, Android phones and tablets running Android 11 or later. If you have an earlier version of Android, you may still be able to receive alerts. To check, search your device settings for ‘emergency alerts’. To opt out of emergency alerts, turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’ BUT for your own safety keep them on.