Life-threatening events will be alerted to UK phones


During a severe weather event next month, the British government will test a new public warning system for life-threatening events by sending siren-like alerts to mobile phone users nationwide.

A UK-wide alert test will occur in the early evening of Sunday, April 23, with people receiving a test message on their mobile phones. The government said it would rarely use the newly created emergency alerts, only sent where there was an immediate risk to human life. Therefore, people may only receive a warning for a short period.

Although not currently covered, it could also add terror alerts to the list of potential events by triggering a notification over time.

“We are strengthening our national resilience with our emergency preparedness system to deal with a wide range of threats, from floods to bushfires,” said Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.

“It will revolutionize our ability to alert and notify people in immediate danger and help us keep people safe. As we’ve seen in the United States and elsewhere, a phone buzz can save a life,” he said.

Working with mobile broadcast technology, the Emergency Alert System is set to transform the UK’s ability to give warnings and information, the Cabinet Office said. Because it provides a way to get emergency messages quickly to about 90 per cent of mobile phones in a particular area, It also offers clear guidance on how to respond.

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

“The alerts will come exclusively from the government or emergency services. They will issue an alert, always include details of the area affected, and provide you with instructions on how to respond – linking to gov. UK/Warning where people can find more information,” the UK Cabinet Office said

The service is already used in several other countries, including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Japan. Several lives have been saved because of it, for instance, during severe weather events.

Mark Hardingham, chair of the UK’s National Fire Chiefs Council, said: “Together with every fire and rescue service in the country, I look forward to our work and making emergency alerts available to help communities in emergencies.”

This type of system is already used in other parts of the world, and we look forward to having one here in the UK – working with fire services and partners, we want to help you stay safe in case of a crisis.

Known for being secure, accessible, and one-way, cell tower alerts are broadcast from locations near emergencies. The government says it does not reveal anyone’s background or collect personal data, and authorized government and emergency service users can only send that alerts.

The Environment Agency’s executive director for flood and coastal erosion risk management, Caroline Douglas, says timely and accurate warnings are crucial to helping people protect themselves, their families and neighbours.

“Emergency Alert is a fantastic addition to our toolbox that we can use in an emergency,” he said.

Will use Emergency alerts across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and their primary use will focus on the most difficult weather-related situations in England, including severe flooding.

The British government says it works closely with various stakeholders and partners across the UK to develop the system, including colleagues from the emergency services, transport groups and environmental agencies.

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