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Date published: 23rd March 2023

The Government has introduced a new Emergency Alert service, which has now gone live.The system will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phone if their lives are at risk in an emergency. The service will be used to warn you about life-threatening emergencies, such as severe flooding.

Emergency Alerts are messages sent to all compatible 4G and 5G mobile phones when there is a danger to your life, health or property in the area you are located. They do not need your phone number and they do not track your location. Only the Government and the emergency services can send them. You will be able to check that an alert is genuine at gov.uk/alerts.

Emergency Alerts will be just one of the ways the Government communicates with the public about emergency situations. If you do not have a mobile phone, don’t worry – you will still be made aware through the media and local emergency services.

An Emergency Alert looks and sounds very different to other types of messages such as SMS ‘text messages’. You will know if you get an Emergency Alert because you will hear a loud siren-like sound and your phone will use a distinct vibration. A message on your screen will tell you about the emergency and what you need to do. Depending on your phone’s features, the alert will work with screen magnification and may read the message out for you having also overridden volume settings. The unique noise emitted by the phone should also be audible for those who use a hearing aid.

It is strongly recommended that you do not opt out of receiving an emergency alert, however it is recognised there may be situations where such an alarm may endanger certain vulnerable people, such as those experiencing domestic abuse.To opt out, search your settings for ‘emergency alerts’ and turn off Emergency alerts. If this does not work, please contact your device manufacturer. 

A national test alert is scheduled for the early evening on April 23 2023, so you can see and hear how the alert would sound.

In the future, you may receive an alert on your phone, if you do, please read the alert carefully and follow the instructions.

To find out more about how it works, watch this video or read the FAQs here.


Last updated: 12th April 2023