National test of the UK Emergency Alerts Service

On Sunday 23 April 2023, at 3pm, there will be a national test of the UK Emergency Alerts service. 

The test is in advance of a new UK government service that will alert the public if there is a danger to life nearby.

In an emergency, your mobile device or tablet will receive an alert on how to keep safe. This new service from the government was successfully trialled in 2021 and is now set to be rolled out across the UK in 2023

This action has had coverage from most national news outlets across the UK to make the public aware of this test. It is important to note that this is government lead rather than action the networks are leading.

What is it?

Emergency Alerts are text-based messages broadcasted from cell towers in the vicinity of an emergency – using 4G and 5G networks. The alerts are secure, free to receive, and one-way. They do not reveal your location and do not collect any personal data.

Upon receipt of the notification, a phone or tablet will vibrate and make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent. The alert would include a warning and details about the affected area and advice on what to do.

Future alerts may also include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information for the public.

When might users receive alerts?

Below are some examples, but not an exhaustive list, outlining when users may get alerts:

– Severe Flooding
– Fires
– Explosions
– Terrorist Incidents
– Public Health Emergencies

Who is responsible for the alerts?

Alerts are not and cannot be managed or pushed out by networks, service providers or resellers. These emergency alerts will only be sent by: – Emergency services – Government departments, agencies and public bodies that specifically deal with emergencies.

The government has set up a dedicated web page where you can find more information including an example alert.  For more information, please click here to visit the UK government website.