This Sunday 23 April 2023, at 3pm, the government will be testing a new emergency alert system. Everyone will receive a message on the home screen of their mobile phone, along with a sound and vibration for up to ten seconds.
The message 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 a real 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.
You do not need to do anything, and the warning sound and vibration will stop automatically after 10 seconds.
Emergency Alerts have already been used successfully in several other countries and can be a tool to let people know about weather events like wildfires or severe flooding.
The charity Refuge have pointed out that many women affected by domestic abuse have a secret second phone, and that as the emergency alert system will send out a loud, siren-like noise to all phones and tablets, there is a risk these will be discovered by abusers. If you are affected by domestic abuse this video shows you how to disable the emergency alerts on your second phone: