UK emergency text system to be trialled this summer
Smartphones are already an indispensable part of our daily lives and could be on the cusp of becoming even more important. The UK government has unveiled a literal life-saving feature that will come to Android and iOS devices in the future. Following in the footsteps of other countries, such as New Zealand, the Cabinet Office is working on a new emergency text system for the UK that will warn of life-threatening events.
The groundbreaking new system will send alerts about threats such as floods or fires and even terrorist attacks directly to those affected.
And trials of this feature will begin in the UK very soon.
As reported by the BBCthe first trial will take place next week in East Suffolk.
That trial will take place on May 25, where residents will receive a test warning.
The next test will then take place in Reading on June 15, and if successful, the new emergency alarm system will be rolled out.
The Cabinet Office provided more details on the alert system and said it would send alerts outlining affected areas, advice on what to do, and a link to any additional information.
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Penny Mordaunt, the Tory MP for Portsmouth North, said the SMS alert system would be an “essential tool to help us better respond to emergencies”.
The cabinet minister added that it will enable us to send people life-saving messages faster and more effectively.
The alert system can be used to send messages about public health emergencies, industrial incidents and terrorist attacks.
Cell Broadcasting technology will be used to create the alert system that ensures alerts are “safe, free to receive, and one-way”.
The Cabinet Office added that the system does not use people’s phone numbers, but instead sends alerts to everyone in a specific area.
The government also announced warnings, “Do not disclose your location or collect personal information. Warnings can also be sent only by authorized users of the government and emergency services.”
The new emergency alerts will be able to warn people of a variety of British threats
If users wish, they can opt out of certain alerts through the Android or iOS settings, but the main ones will always get through.
The new warning system will be a first for the UK, while other countries, such as the US, have had similar systems for some time now.
Famously, in 2018 the warning system the US was using accidentally broadcast a ballistic missile warning via telephones, radio stations and on TV.
Residents were told “this is not a drill” and warned of an “incoming” threat to Hawaii, telling people to seek shelter.
Fortunately, this was just a false alarm – people were informed about 38 minutes later that there was no cause for concern.
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