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An example of an emergency alert
An example of an emergency alert

Government to send new ‘danger to life’ phone alerts with loud siren noise

Your phone and tablet could soon start receiving ’emergency alerts’ to warn of dangers under a new UK scheme.

Emergency alerts to UK mobile phones and tablets are set to be launched as part of a new government service. The ‘danger to life’ alerts could see your phone start making a siren-like sound if you receive one during dangerous weather, fires or public health crises with advice on how to stay safe.

It is due to launch later this year and comes after a trial last summer.

In an emergency, mobile phone masts in the surrounding area will broadcast an alert. Every compatible mobile phone or tablet in range of a mast will receive a message. The emergency services and the UK government do not need your phone number to send you an alert. It will be based on your current location, not where you live or work.

The Government says that no one will collect or share data about you, your device or your location when you receive an alert. You will not get alerts if your device is turned off or in aeroplane mode, and the emergency alerts are free.

You do not need to sign up for them or download an app, and you can opt out of some emergency alerts, but you are advised to keep them switched on for your own safety.

What happens when you get an emergency alert?

Your phone or tablet may:

  • Make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent
  • Vibrate
  • Read out the alert

The sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds, and you are advised to stop what you’re doing and follow the instructions in the alert.

Sometimes an alert will include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.

Reasons you might get an alert

You may get alerts about:

  • Severe flooding
  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Public health emergencies

Emergency alerts will only be sent by the emergency services, Government departments, agencies and public bodies that deal with emergencies.

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