UPDATED: UK Emergency Alerts Test Day & its impact on survivors of Domestic Abuse

On Sunday 19 March 2023, the UK government announced that the new Emergency Alerts system is now live. The system will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phone when lives are in danger. On Sunday 23 April 2023 at 3 PM there will be a national test which will be received on compatible mobile phone handsets.

The test alert will see people receive a message on the home screen of their mobile phone, along with a sound and vibration for up to ten seconds.

The message will say:

This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby.

In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe.

Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information.

This is a test. You do not need to take any action.

For the test, the public does not need to take any action – the sound and vibration will stop automatically after ten seconds. All people need to do is swipe away the message or click ‘OK’ on their phone’s home screen – just like for a ‘low battery’ warning or notification – and continue to use their phone as normal.

To learn more, please click here.

What are Emergency Alerts?

Emergency Alerts will be used to warn you in the event of emergencies, such as severe flooding. It will be sent to all compatible mobile phones within an area of risk. They don’t track your location, need your phone number, or collect personal data.

Only the government and the emergency services will be able to send them. If you don’t have a mobile phone, you’ll still be kept informed through other channels.

If you get an Emergency Alert on your phone, you’ll hear a loud, siren-like sound. A message on your screen will tell you about the emergency and how best to respond. You’ll be able to check if an alert is genuine by going on the UK government website (link below).

If you receive an alert, read the alert carefully and follow the instructions.

You have the option to opt out of receiving emergency alerts, for more information on how to opt out please click on the click below.

To find out more about Emergency Alerts, please click here.

Impact on survivors of Domestic Abuse

As the alert test will make a sound on all compatible devices. This could impact survivors of domestic abuse who have another phone or are hiding their phone from the perpetrator.

National charity Refuge have created a useful video to let survivors know how to turn the alert off on both Android phones and iPhones.

Click here to view the video.

Please share this article widely.

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