UK to test new emergency alert system
All mobile phone users in the UK will receive a siren-like emergency warning message in April to test a new public alert system.
Users will be unable to use their phone until they acknowledge the alert, which will be sent out on April 23.
The system, which has been modelled after similar schemes in the US and Canada, is intended to be used in life-threatening situations including flooding and wildfires. The UAE has a similar system.
The alerts on Saint George’s Day will appear on the home screens of people’s phones, accompanied by a loud warning sound and vibration.
The scheme will initially focus on the most serious severe weather-related events, with the ability to get a message to 90 per cent of mobile users within the relevant area in an emergency.
The alerts will only ever come from the government or emergency services, and they will include the details of the area affected, and provide instructions about how best to respond.
The Cabinet Office said the alerts are secure, free to receive and one-way, insisting they do not reveal anyone’s location or collect personal data.
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