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National emergency alerts system goes live

Emergency alert system logo
Image source: GOV.UK/Open Government Licence v3.0

The UK Government has launched a nationwide emergency alerts system using text messages on people’s mobile phones.

The Cabinet Office said the system - which uses Everbridge Public Warning cell broadcast technology - has been tested in East Suffolk and Reading and a UK-wide test will take place early evening on Sunday 23 April.

It said that broadcasting from cell towers in the vicinity of an emergency provides the capability to get messages quickly to nearly 90% of mobiles in a defined area and provide clear instructions on how to respond to an alert.

The alerts will be used rarely and only come from government or emergency services and provide links to for further information. They will not reveal anyone’s location or collect personal data.

Initial use of the system will focus on severe weather related incidents.

Similar services have been used in countries including the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan.

Strengthening national resilience

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden MP said: “We are strengthening our national resilience with a new emergency alerts system, to deal with a wide range of threats - from flooding to wildfires.

“It will revolutionise our ability to warn and inform people who are in immediate danger, and help us keep people safe. As we’ve seen in the U.S. and elsewhere, the buzz of a phone can save a life.”

Detail on Everbridge technology added on 21.3.23 am on receipt of further information

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