The UK Government have announced the introduction of a new Emergency Alert System. This system is to work through the vast majority of mobile phones connected to UK mobile networks.
The system is designed to be used to alert everyone in the specified area for the alert of events that can cause immediate threat to life. Some examples of this could be severe flooding or fires.
This system has been in use in other countries, such as the US, Japan and the Netherlands.
The system works by a command being sent from the UK Government or emergency services to a specified cellular tower (or group of cellular towers), which will broadcast the alert to all devices connected to it.
Mobile phones use these cellular towers to get mobile signal, from whichever provider the phone owner uses.
The alerts will be sent to all iPhone users, running iOS version 14.5 or later, and all Android users, running Android version 11 or later, that are connected to a 4G or 5G network. Individuals will not receive the alerts if their phone is not running a compatible software version, connected to a 2g or 3g network or Wi-Fi only.
Individuals do have the choice to turn these alerts off within their device settings.
On the 23rd April 2023, the first national test of the system will happen. People are warned to expect a 10 second continuous siren sound, which can be stopped by dismissing the message on the screen.
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