A UK-wide emergency alert service has launched and is being tested for the first time on Sunday 23rd April - we've answered your questions!
The emergency alert test has now passed but this information is still correct for disabling alerts and finding out more about emergency alerts.
The new UK-wide emergency alert service has launched for the first time, with the system already in place in numerous countries like America and Japan. The alerts are sent directly to mobile phones across the UK to warn people about life-threatening events such as wildfires and dangerous flooding, and can only be sent by the Government or local emergency services and will only be used if there is an immediate risk to life.
There will be a nationwide test on the 23rd April and it will last for ten seconds.
The alert will appear on compatible smartphones and will play a loud siren and vibration which will last up to 10 seconds. You are required to acknowledge the alert before using your phone again.
What time will the alert go off on the 23rd April?
The test on the 23rd of April 2023 will go off at 3pm. You can see a preview of how the notification will look and sound below.
Can I turn off emergency alerts on my phone?
Yes, if you really don't want to receive the alerts you can opt out in your device settings. It's important to note that the government won't use emergency alerts to spam people and the alerts will only ever be used to warn people about an immediate threat to life where they are.
You can opt-out of emergency alerts by going into your phone settings:
Search your settings for notifications and 'emergency alerts'
Turn off 'severe alerts' and 'extreme alerts'
Your phone will also not receive an alert if:
Your phone is turned off or in airplane mode
You're connected to a 2G or 3G network
You're using Wi-Fi only (not connected to a network)
There is particular concern that the test could put some domestic abuse victims in danger.
The emergency alert will go off whether a phone is on silent or not and therefore could reveal any secret emergency handsets victims may have.
Anyone who is living with abusers and have secret emergency handsets which they do not want their abuser to know about should disable the alerts or switch their phones off completely.
IDAS are a specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence. You can call them on 03000 110 110, or live chat to a support worker 1pm-4pm, Monday to Friday, on their website idas.org.uk.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.
What phones will have emergency alerts?
The emergency alerts will work on all smartphones connected to a 4G and 5G phone network.
The alerts will not include older 'non-smart' phones, even if they use 3G as that technology is soon being switched off.
If your phone is turned off or in airplane mode, is connected to a 2G or 3G network, or is Wi-Fi only and not connected to any network, you will not receive the emergency alerts.
It may be useful to share this information with older residents who may not know about the emergency alert test.
Our volunteers are able to answer any questions and help change your emergency alert settings at a Digital Cafe service, or can provide advice and support via email or telephone.
Tagged as: Emergency Alerts
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