By Lily Heath
A government alert system created to warn people of life-threatening emergencies such as severe flooding is due to be tested on April 23 at 3pm.
The Emergency Alert can be sent to all compatible mobile phones within an area of risk. Those receiving it will hear a loud, siren-like sound and a message on their phone screen explaining what the emergency is and how best to respond. There will also be audio, vibration and attention signals which can be used by anyone who has a disability or struggles to hear or see.
The alert can only be sent out by emergency services, related agencies and the UK Government.
Anyone receiving an emergency alert while driving or riding should find a safe and legal place to stop and then respond to the instructions displayed on the phone screen.
The alert on April 23 will be to test the system.
Some questions have been raised on social media platforms about how the alert will reach people’s phones without personal data being accessed but government says the system will not need any phone number, location or personal information.
A government information page says: “The system uses the cell tower your phone is connected to. When an alert is triggered, all towers in the area will broadcast the alert. To do this the government does not need to know the specific location or personal data on your device.”
People are able to opt out of receiving emergency alerts or:
- Open settings.
- Select ‘Notifications’ and scroll to the bottom until you see ‘Emergency Alerts’, or search for ‘Emergency Alerts’
- Turn off ‘Extreme alerts’ and ‘Severe alerts’
To find out more visit gov.uk/alerts
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