By Connor Steel
LOCAL RESIDENTS have been told to expect a phone alert later this weekend as the Government prepares to test their new public warning system across the country; which will occur at 3pm on Sunday (April 23) with further details and advice issued over recent days by officials keen to avoid widespread panic and confusion.
This emergency system was first confirmed in 2022 and follows similar examples worldwide; warning people of ongoing situations including flooding and wildfires along with other weather events. It may further be used as a response to any terrorist attack, nuclear incident or civil defence emergency if Britain was under attack.
People will likely receive a text message this Sunday afternoon, which will be accompanied by a siren sound and vibration for 4G / 5G mobiles. This noise will still be heard if the phone is on silent and users will have to acknowledge this alert by clicking “OK” before they can continue to use their devices in the normal methods. The alert will last for approximately ten seconds and there is no need to sign up or download any application.
Drivers are being advised not to use / touch their phones until it is safe to do so; with rules on receiving calls and messages the same regardless. The Government admit the timing is not ideal for everybody but wanted to ensure that more people were able to interact with this test and therefore boost the system if ever needed.
This alert reads: “This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there is a life-threatening emergency nearby. In a real emergency follow all instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe. Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information. This is a test. You don’t need to take further action.”
Government officials are further keen to express that these alerts will only be sent by emergency services or their departments; with the same message sent to compatible devices within the area of a risk. They will not collect phone numbers, collect personal data or track movements in any circumstances; despite many fears.
Concerns have further been raised about this system putting vulnerable people in danger by locating secret phones of domestic abuse victims; which have been acknowledged by Government. They have advised that people can opt out of this test by turning off ’emergency alert’ settings or simply leaving devices switched off.
Further information about the test and system itself can be found on this official Government link; which does include a promotional video and images as part of a campaign to raise nationwide awareness of its function.
PICTURED BY HM GOVERMENT: A nationwide test of the new emergency system will be held next Sunday.