Emergency alert system by Marie

On the 23RD of April 2023, at 3 PM, in the uK, the government will test the new Emergency alert system. These alerts will occur on 4 and 5G devices only. Chances are, if you have a modern phone or tablet that is connected to a mobile network, you will receive one of these notifications.


What are these alerts for?


The national emergency alert scheme will notify you when a severe or extreme [likely risk to life[ occurs in your area. This includes wild fires, flooding, etc.


How does it work?


They do not need your phone number, or your location services to be turned on on your device, the messages will be communicated through the 4 and 5G networks. For those without these types of devices, other means such as radio and local news outlets will provide the information as before.


Are they accessible?


Yes. In short, these services have worked in other countries for years and the messages are utilised through your phone’s own operating system. Think of it like a broadcast direct to your phone.


Through the freedom of information act, it has been confirmed the onboard screen reader and magnification/text settings will all be able to interact with this service.


What exactly will happen?


At 3 PM on the test day, or whenever there is a local emergency, a loud siren will Blair from your phone or a more suitable sound for those using hearing aids, and text will appear telling you what the alert is. The siren will last for around ten seconds and you can then use your preferred interaction method with your phone to tap OK and tell the system you have received the alert.


Can I turn these alerts off?


Yes, you can turn off either extreme or severe alerts or both if you choose to. But remember you will have to depend on other services to alert you of severe or extreme alerts unless you turn them back on.


How can I turn the alerts off or customise my alerts?


For iPhone users

Open your settings app and tap on notifications.

at the bottom, you will see Emergency alerts. Under this heading, you can either toggle on or off severe and extreme alerts. 


For Android Users:

, go to settings and in the search box, type emergency.


Emergency alerts will be one of the results, tap on that and toggle severe or Extreme alerts on or off. Depending on your device, you can also toggle on or off vibrate.


Remember, even if your device is in do not disturb, you will still receive the alert. The only times your phone will not alert is if the device is off or in airplane mode. 


Hope this has been helpful and let’s hope we don’t all receive real alerts for a long time to come.

By Marie


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