People are being asked to be prepared for the first UK-wide test of the public Emergency Alerts system which will take place at 3 pm on Sunday 23 April.
The alert will be sent automatically by the UK Government to all 4G and 5G mobile phones.
When the alert sounds, your mobile phone or tablet may make a loud siren-like sound and vibrate for about 10 seconds, even if it’s set on silent. A message will appear on your screen with information on what to do next.
Sunday’s test alert will say:
This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby.
In an actual emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe.
Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information.
This is a test. You do not need to take any action.
People are being asked to be prepared for the alert, and pass on the information to family and friends, especially older or vulnerable people so it does not cause panic.
Drivers are being warned not to respond to the alert or attempt to pick up a mobile phone and deal with the message while driving.
Survivors of domestic abuse may be at heightened risk as the alert could reveal a secret phone, even if it is set to silent mode. The charity Refuge has produced a short video explaining how to deactivate the alerts.
The new Emergency Alerts system will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phones if their lives are at risk in an emergency. The emergency might be local or national and could include severe weather events such as wildfires or flooding, health emergencies, or industrial incidents.
The system will bring the UK in line with other countries where they have been used successfully including in the US, Canada, and Japan.
People do not have to provide any personal information such as their name or phone number. Only the emergency services can send these messages. If you do not have a mobile phone, then you will be kept up to date via other channels.
You will be able to check whether an alert is genuine at gov.uk/alerts.
Chair of The National Fire Chiefs Council, Mark Hardingham, said: We must use every tool at our disposal to keep people safe, and we need everyone to play their part – and the new Emergency Alerts system is one way we can do this. For 10 seconds, the national test may be inconvenient for some, but please forgive us for the intrusion, because the next time you hear it – your life, and the life-saving actions of our emergency services, could depend on it.”
Further information including what to do if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, can be found here https://www.gov.uk/alerts