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UK Emergency Alerts: Test alert sent to smartphones on 23 April

21 Apr 2023

All smartphone users in the UK will receive a message

A new system that will give the Government and emergency services the capability to send an alert directly to mobiles phones when there is a risk to life has been launched. They don’t track your location, need your phone number, or collect personal data, and only the emergency services can send them.

This new system will send urgent messages to the public in case of life-threatening situations such as flooding or extreme weather events. 

At 3pm on Sunday, 23 April there will be a UK-wide test of the emergency alert system

What will happen?

All smartphone users in the UK will receive a message. Your device may sound a siren-like alarm, vibrate, or read out the message – even if it’s set to silent. A message on your screen will tell you about the emergency and how best to respond.

If you are driving when you receive the alert

You should continue to drive and not respond or attempt to pick up your phone. Once it is safe and legal to do so, you can stop and read the message.

If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted

If you have a vision or hearing impairment, audio and vibration attention signals will let you know you have an emergency alert.

Turning off alerts

You can opt out of receiving emergency alerts in your phone settings by searching for ‘emergency alerts’ and turn off ‘severe alerts ‘ and ‘extreme alerts’. You will not receive alerts if your device is turned off or in airplane mode.

The domestic abuse charity Refuge has raised concerns that the emergency alert could highlight the location of hidden phones within homes. They have produced a step-by-step guide to opt out of receiving the alert, for both iPhone and Android users.

More information