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National test of the UK Emergency Alerts service

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The UK government’s new Emergency Alerts system is now live. The system gives the government and emergency services the capability to send an alert directly to mobile phones when there is a risk to life, such as severe flooding. Alert systems such as this are already successfully used across the world and save lives.

The alert itself will take the form of a message on mobile phone home screens, accompanied by a loud, siren-like sound and vibration that will last about 10 seconds, even if the device is set to silent.

For the nationwide test on 23 April, the public does not need to take any action – the sound and vibration will stop automatically after 10 seconds.

It may be appropriate to adjust timings of services such as postponing the start of 3pm Evensong accordingly.

Victims of domestic abuse or vulnerable individuals, who have a concealed phone, can switch off the alert. To opt out, search phone settings for ‘Emergency alerts’ and turn off notifications, including those for ‘Severe alerts’ and ‘Extreme alerts’.