ANOTHER “terror warning” will be broadcast to Brits’ phones next week to trial the UK’s Emergency Alert system.
It’s a similar system to one already active in the US – and is designed to warn Brits of imminent danger.
The Government is trialling a new emergency system after being forced to rely on mobile networks in the early stages of the pandemicCredit: AP
The first part of the test took place at 1pm on Tuesday, June 22.
But a second test is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 29.
It will only affect a limited number of smartphone users, and will run between 1pm and 2pm.
The Government is specifically targeting people who use iPhone and Android smartphones – which makes up the vast majority of handsets.
A loud siren will sound from some phones as part of the testsCredit: Getty
And it will only appear for some users in Reading, Berkshire.
The message will read: “This is a mobile network operator test of the Emergency Alerts service.
“You do not need to take any action.
“To find out more, search for gov.uk/alerts.”
Some users will also find that the alert is accompanied by a loud sound.
Eventually, the Government hopes to use the system to warn Brits of real life dangers.
These include terrorism, as well as fires, flooding and health emergencies.
Alerts, which are broadcast from mobile phone masts, are designed to be activated if there is a danger to life nearby.
Phones or tablets within range will be able to pick up the warning, which may also come with written advice on how to stay safe.
New emergency alarm system trialled in UK
Here’s what you need to know…
Under the plans, Brits will get alerts to their mobiles for emergency situations – including public health emergencies, severe floods, fires, industrial incidents and terror attacks.
It comes after text messages were sent out during the pandemic via mobile providers.
If the new system is put in place, cell broadcasting technology will be used to ensure alerts are “secure, free to receive, and one-way”.
The system does not use people’s phone numbers.
Instead, alerts are sent to anyone in a specific area from a mobile phone mast.
Every compatible phone and tablet in range will get the alert.
The Government is working with authorities around the UK to ensure all emergency services have access to the system.
Charity organisations will also be involved in the development of the system to make sure elderly, vulnerable and young people, as well as those with disabilities, are “fully considered”.
It will be possible to opt-out of some alerts through the phone’s settings.
However, the most important alerts will always come through, and the Government recommends that people do not opt-out.
Alerts will be sent only by emergency services, government departments and other public bodies responsible for co-ordinating emergency responses in the country.
Mobile phone numbers are not required by the Government in order to send out alerts to the public.
Emergency alert systems are used across the world.
The USA, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand all have such a system in place.
But until last month Britain had never trialled emergency phone alerts, with the Government doing another test run in East Suffolk.
During the early stages of the pandemic in Britain, the Government had to rely on mobile operators to send messages to customers.
In the future, it wants to be able to contact people with both national and local alerts.
Personal details including phone numbers don’t need to be shared, and the tech means there’s no extra strain on the phone network.
Paymaster General Penny Mourdant said it will help the UK respond more quickly to disaster situations.
“The Emergency Alerts service will be a vital tool in helping us to better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally,” she said.
“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.”
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