Some people will have a loud alert randomly blasted through their phone today
Random people around the country will have a loud alert randomly blasted out of their phone later today.
It will serve as a test for a national alert system the government wants to put in place to use in case of an emergency.
Similar systems exist in countries like the USA, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.
When there is a danger to life – such as a natural disaster or a terror attack – the alert can be sent to the phones of all people in an affected area.
This afternoon, between 1pm and 2pm, a few random people in East Suffolk will experience the test. Their phones or tablets will start emitting a ‘loud siren-like sound’.
If you are affected, you don’t need to do anything as the test doesn’t require a response.
The decision to forge ahead with the system came after the outbreak of Covid-19. At the start of the pandemic, officials had to rely on mobile phone operators to push messages out to their customers.
According to officials, the alert system doesn’t share any personal details such as a phone number and doesn’t put any additional strain on telecoms networks.
‘The Emergency Alerts service will be a vital tool in helping us to better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally,’ said Penny Mourdant, the Paymaster general.
‘The concept was used to good effect during the pandemic when we asked people, via text message, to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
‘This new system builds on that capability and will allow us to more quickly and effectively get life-saving messages to people across the UK.’