A test alert is due to be sent on 23 April 2023 to everyone in England.
The Government's new Emergency Alerts service will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phone if their lives are at risk. The service will only be used to warn you about life-threatening emergencies such as severe flooding. The alert will give you clear instructions of what to do to stay safe.
If you're driving when you receive the alert, please ensure you are able to pull over safely to read it as you may be entering or leaving the emergency location.
What will the alert look and sound like?
An Emergency Alert looks and sounds very different to other types of messages. You'll know if you get an Emergency Alert because you'll hear a loud, siren-like sound and your phone will use a distinct vibration. A message will appear on your screen until you acknowledge it.
How can I find an Emergency Alert on my phone after I've acknowledged it?
On Android phones, the alert may be found in the Messages app or 'Emergency Alert History'. For iPhone users, the alert will be in your notifications. If you delete your notifications, the alert will also be deleted.
How do they work?
Emergency Alerts are sent to compatible 4G and 5G mobile phones within an area of risk. They don't need your location or phone number. Only the government and emergency services can send them.
Can I opt out?
Members of the public can opt out of the service. However, we strongly recommend that people do not opt out of the service, as it is intended to warn you when lives are in danger.
If you have a secret mobile phone hidden from an abusive partner, switch it off or put it in airplane mode for the test day (23 April) and consider the above going forward – whilst ensuring your safety. There is support & advice via the Surrey domestic abuse helpline: 01483 776822 or visit the Surrey Against Domestic Abuse webpage.
How will I know that the alert is genuine and not a scam?
An Emergency Alert will never request you provide bank details. If you receive an alert but are in doubt about the origins of the message, go to gov.uk/alerts or contact neighbours, friends or family in the nearby area to check whether they have received it too.
I am visually or hearing impaired. Will I know when I receive an Emergency Alert?
Yes. Emergency Alerts are designed to attract attention. This means compatible phones use a loud, siren-like sound so people with visual impairments are not excluded. Depending on your phone's features, the alert will work with screen magnification and may read the message out for you having also overridden volume settings. The unique noise emitted by the phone should also be audible for those who use a hearing aid.
What about people who may be distressed by this type of alert?
If you can, we also advise you to identify vulnerable people living nearby who you can inform of the planned test.
Those who are more vulnerable can also be directed to the GOV.UK About Emergence Alerts webpage for more information about Emergency Alerts, including what happens when you get an alert, reasons you might receive one and how it works. There is also an explainer video they can watch to find out more.