Emergency Alerts will begin its first test on Sunday the 23rd of April at 3pm. Emergency Alerts is a new service intended to provide the public with an alert and information during life-threatening emergencies.
For the test, an alert will be sent to all available mobiles and tablets in the UK. This alert will include sound and vibration for up to ten seconds, and it will inform the user that it is a test and will not require further action. The message can be dismissed like any normal notification.
The test is intended to ensure that the public will recognise what an emergency alert will look and sound like, so that they will be able to respond to an alert as quickly as possible.
Outside of testing, the most likely reasons why an alert would be issued would be in cases of fire, flood, or extreme weather. Such systems are already in use in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan.
As the Emergency Alerts service will cause phones to make noise even when on silent, there is the risk that this could alert an abuser as to the existence of a hidden phone, making it harder for a victim to get help. Refuge has a guide available on how to opt-out of the service here.
If you need to disable Emergency Alerts on your smartphone, you can search the settings for Emergency Alerts, and access the Emergency Alerts menu from there. This menu will allow you can disable Emergency Alerts, ensuring that there is no risk of the phone ringing.
If you have any concerns about the Emergency Alerts service, just get in touch.