Thousands of phones in the UK will sound a ‘siren-like’ alert today, and here’s why.
If your smartphone is emitting a high-pitched “siren-like” alert this afternoon, don’t panic; it’s nothing to be concerned about. The sound is just a test for an eventual nationwide alarm system, rather than warning phone owners of impending danger.
The Government has warned that Android handsets in the UK would get a text message that will play a “loud siren-like sound.” The alarm is the most recent test of a new alert system that will allow the government to send warnings to millions of smartphones when there is a life-threatening situation.
Between 1 and 2 p.m., a number of mobile phone networks in the UK are testing emergency notifications. If your device is chosen for the trial, you’ll get a text message that says, “This is a mobile network operator test of the Emergency Alerts service.” You don’t have to do anything.”
The test, which begins Monday, June 22, will involve a small number of devices from throughout the country. Next week, on June 29, a new study will focus on a specific location: Reading, Berkshire. Both Android and iPhone will be able to play the siren sound, and both devices will be set to do so.
When the system is fully operational, SMS messages will be delivered to everyone in the immediate vicinity in the event of a life-threatening situation. It should keep people informed about major floods, fires, explosions, terrorist attacks, or public health catastrophes that occur near you. The UK government wants to be able to send SMS alerts to millions of people by “summer 2021” if the tests are successful.
The UK government’s Emergency Alerts system was inspired by countries like New Zealand, who have been using text messages to inform citizens for some time.
More information regarding the alert system was provided by the Cabinet Office, which stated that it would send out warnings outlining affected areas, advise on what to do, and a link to any additional information. The SMS alert system, according to Penny Mordaunt, the Tory MP for Portsmouth North, will be a “essential instrument in assisting us to effectively respond to emergencies.”
It will “enable us to send life-saving messages to individuals more swiftly and effectively,” according to the Cabinet Office minister.
The alert system might be used to deliver alerts regarding both public health and industrial emergencies. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”