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UK phones will get an emergency alert system to warn of life-threatening events

Government said new emergency alerts will be used very rarely (representational)


A siren-like alert will be sent to mobile phone users across the UK next month to test a new public warning system about life-threatening events such as severe weather, the UK government announced on Sunday.

A UK-wide test alerts will take place in the early evening of Sunday April 23, during which people will receive a test message on their mobile phones.

The government has said new emergency alerts will only be used very rarely, only when there is an immediate risk to people’s lives, so people may not receive an alert for months or even years.

Although not currently covered, terrorist alerts could also be added to the list of potential events that would trigger notification over time.

“We are strengthening our national resilience with a new system of emergency alerts, to deal with a wide range of threats – from floods to wildfires,” said Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden.

“It will revolutionize our ability to warn and inform those in immediate danger and help us keep people safe. As we have seen in the United States and elsewhere, the hum of a phone can save a life,” did he declare.

The Cabinet Office said that by working with mobile broadcast technology, the Emergency Alerts System is set to transform the UK’s alert and information capacity, providing a means to deliver urgent messages quickly to nearly 90% of mobile phones in a defined area and providing clear instructions. on how best to respond.

The UK-wide rollout follows successful tests in east Suffolk and Reading as part of an action plan against an “ever-evolving” range of threats.

“Alerts will only come from the government or emergency services, and they will issue a warning, always include details of the affected area and provide instructions on how best to respond – by logging on to where people can receive more information,” the UK Cabinet Office said.

The service has already been used in a number of other countries, including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan, where it has been widely credited with saving lives, for example during phenomena severe weather.

“Along with all fire and rescue services across the country, I look forward to having emergency alerts available to help us do our jobs and to help communities in the event of an emergency,” said Mark Hardingham , Chairman of the UK National Fire. Council of Chiefs.

“We have seen this type of system in action elsewhere in the world and we are looking forward to having the installation here in the UK – working with the fire services and our partners, we want this system to help us help you be as safe as you can in a crisis,” he said.

Broadcast from cell towers near an emergency, the alerts are described as “secure, free to receive and one-way”. They do not reveal anyone’s location or collect personal data and alerts can only be sent by authorized government and emergency service users, the government said.

“Being able to communicate timely and accurate warnings during incidents is really important in helping people take action to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors,” said Caroline Douglass, executive director of management risks of flooding and coastal erosion to the environment. Agency.

“Emergency Alerts are a fantastic addition to our toolbox that we can use in emergency situations,” she said.

The emergency alerts will be used in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and their initial use will focus on the most severe weather incidents, including severe flooding in England.

The UK government said it was working closely with a range of stakeholders and partners across the UK on the development of the system, including colleagues from emergency services, transport groups and the ‘Environment Agency.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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