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How to manage emergency alerts on your phone

On Sunday 23rd April at 3pm there will be a national test of the UK Emergency Alerts System. This means mobile phone and tablet devices across the UK will receive a test alert. Your mobile phone or tablet may:

  • make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent
  • vibrate
  • read out the alert

The sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds.

An alert will include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.

We are aware that some survivors or people will a concealed phone might be concerned that the alert will reveal that they have a phone. If you do not want your phone to receive the alert you can opt out of the emergency alerts system in your phone’s settings, just search for “emergency alerts”, and turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’.

Click here to watch the Refuge emergency alert video for a guide on how to turn off alerts >>

Read the Refuge Emergency Alerts guide >>

To find out more about Emergency Alerts, visit www.gov.uk/alerts

The system will enable people to be contacted via their mobile phone when lives are in danger. It will be used as a warning in the event of emergencies, such as severe flooding.

Emergency Alerts are sent to all compatible 4G and 5G 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. They will be just one of the ways the Government communicates with the public about emergency situations, including media and local emergency services.

An Emergency Alert looks and sounds very different to other types of messages such as SMS ‘text messages’. You’ll know if you get an Emergency Alert because you’ll 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. You’ll be able to check an alert is genuine at gov.uk/alerts If you receive an alert, read the alert carefully and follow the instructions.

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