America is already accustomed to the idea of loud sirens coming out of their phones to announce an official emergency warning message. The same system is now being tested by the UK government for sending important messages to people in the United Kingdom.
The tests will run during the next week. Recognizing that all is not well, the government will start using the emergency alert system for real-life threatening emergencies later in the year. The government says they plan to use the service for emergencies including fire, flood, terrorism and public health emergencies.
UK iPhone and Android users should be aware that test emergency alerts will be rolled out today, 22 June, and next week, 29 June.
Today’s test will be distributed to certain mobile phone networks and will target a small number of Android users across the UK. The alert message will read “This is a mobile network operator test of emergency alert service. You don’t need to take any action. To learn more, search gov.uk/alerts”.
On the 29th, iPhone and Android users in Berkshire’s Reading will receive a similar test emergency message. Both these tests will be dispatched between 1 pm and 2 pm local time.
Across the world, emergency warning systems have been widely used positively, although mistakes have been made. Notably, in 2018, Hawaiian citizens were informed by an emergency alert that a serious ballistic missile threat was imminent and warned the public to ‘look for cover, this is not a drill’. However, there was no real threat and the alert was sent only by mistake.
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