UK Emergency Alert System

UK Government emergency alert system test

A UK wide test of the government’s new public Emergency Alerts system will take place at 3pm on Sunday 23 April.

The Emergency Alerts system is a UK government service which will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phone when lives are in danger. It will be used to warn you in the event of emergencies, such as severe flooding, fires or extreme weather. 

Emergency Alerts have already been used successfully in a number of other countries, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan, where it has been widely credited with saving lives, for example, during severe weather events.

When you get an emergency alert, your mobile 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.

Alerts are based on your current location - not where you live or work. You do not need to turn on location services to receive alerts. If you don’t have a mobile phone, you’ll still be kept informed through other channels to warn you when there is a threat to life.

You will not receive an alert if your device is turned off, in airplane mode, connected to a 2G or 3G network or is Wi-Fi only.

According to the government’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the test, they say that it is possible to opt out from receiving emergency alerts; and it’s important you know how to do this should you have a mobile phone hidden from an abuser or have vulnerable friends/family members who may be scared by the alerts.

To turn off on an iPhone, Open settings, Select ‘Notifications’ and scroll to the bottom until you see ‘Emergency Alerts’, or search for ‘Emergency Alerts’ then Turn off ‘Extreme alerts’ and ‘Severe alerts’

To turn off on an Android phone and tablet, search your settings for ‘Emergency Alerts’ and turn off Severe Alerts and Emergency Alerts

On Huawei devices running EMUI 11 or older, search your settings for ‘emergency alerts’ and please turn off “Extreme threats”, “Severe threats” and “Show amber alerts”

You can also visit the government website for the latest information or see the latest news