A new Emergency Alert mobile phone warning system has been launched across the UK, by the government, with a trial of the system planned for next month.
On Sunday 23rd of April a test message will be issued to mobile phones across the UK, including those in Scotland, from the new system which will use mobile broadcasting technology to save lives during emergencies.
Justice Secretary and lead Minister for resilience Keith Brown said: “This new service builds on the arrangements we already have in place with responders and other key organisations in Scotland to keep people safe during emergencies and save lives.
“The system has already been used successfully overseas in other countries including New Zealand, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA where it has been credited with saving lives during severe weather events and earthquakes.
“During rare events where there is an imminent risk to life, alerts can be sent direct to people’s mobile phones with clear instructions explaining what action to take and how to seek help.”
The new mobile broadcasting technology will provide the alert system with a way of issuing urgent messages to nearly 90% of mobile phones in a specific area when there is a risk to life during an emergency, while providing clear instructions about how to respond.
A small scale test of the system has already been carried out in East Suffolk and Reading, with the government continuing to strengthen its resilience capability. Alerts from the system will only ever come from the government or emergency services.
The alert will appear on the phone with a siren-like sound which will ring for up to 10 seconds. The alert will appear on the home screen and must be acknowledged before other phone features can be used, the welcome message will appear in the same way as the ‘low battery’ warning.
You can opt out of the emergency alerts system in your phone’s settings, just search for “emergency alerts”, and turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’. You will not receive the alerts if your device is turned off or in airplane mode. However as these alerts are potentially lifesaving it is recommend that people leave them switched on.
For more information about the system including Frequently Asked Questions visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-life-saving-public-emergency-alerts