Millions of phones across Britain have given out a loud, 10-second alarm this afternoon as part of the government’s test of a new emergency alert system.
The alarm, which sounded at shortly before 3pm, was accompanied by a message which popped up on mobile phones explaining that the siren was a test and people did not need to take any action.
People who do not wish to receive the alerts are able to opt out in their device settings – but officials hope the life-saving potential of the messages means users will keep them on.
The siren-like sound, which the Cabinet Office assured would be no more prominent than a mobile’s loudest ringtone setting, sounded on all 4G and 5G devices unless they had been turned off or were in airplane mode.
But some Britons complained that the alert was early – it had been expected to go off at 3pm exactly – while others said they did not receive the alert at all.
The test alert featured a 10-second alarm which went off at 3pm, as well as an on-screen message advising the public that no action was required
The government previously issued this photo of what the alert will look like on a standard mobile phone
The alert reached phones at just before 3pm, although did not appear to be synchronised between all mobiles
One person said on Twitter: ‘Bit early there emergency alert. I’d have loved to see the reaction in a supermarket.’
Once established, the system is intended to be used in life-threatening situations including flooding and wildfires.
As well as an alarm, many phones vibrated for the duration of the 10 seconds. The alarm was set to go off loudly even if a person’s phone had been placed on silent.
The test coincided with major events including the London Marathon and Premier League clashes between Bournemouth and West Ham, and Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur.
This had left sporting bosses pondering the best solution to prevent distraction.
Organisers of the World Snooker Championship paused play just before 3pm at the Crucible in Sheffield and it resumed after the alert.
Officials said they had worked with the Football Association and the marathon’s organisers to make sure the impact of the test would be limited.
Today’s test message said: ‘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.’
The new Deputy PM Oliver Dowden today told the public to ‘keep calm and carry on’ when the alarm goes off, and that they can simply ‘swipe away’ the alert once it has been received on their phone.
Mr Dowden said the alert system could, in the future, save many lives.
He said ahead of the alert: ‘Keep calm and carry on – that is the British way and it is exactly what the country will do when they receive this test alert at 3pm today.
‘Our number one job is to keep people safe and this is another tool in the toolkit for emergency situations, such as flooding or wildfires, and where there is a genuine risk to life.
‘I would encourage people to remember that today it is just a test. There is no need to take any action and you can simply swipe it away as you would any other message you receive.’
In the West End, The Society of London Theatre (Solt) said it had shared the Government’s guidance with its members and advised them to tell attendees to turn off their phones to ‘minimise disruption to shows’.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Frozen, Mamma Mia! and The Lion King are among the shows putting on matinees on Sunday.
LW Theatres, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s group of seven West End venues including the London Palladium, said it planned to make an announcement before its shows but had no plans to change the times of its matinee performances.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12004521/Tens-millions-phones-Britain-receive-loud-10-second-alarm-emergency-alert-test.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270