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REVEALED: Exact time and date national emergency alert test will sound on mobile phones

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A loud alarm is to go off on millions of mobile phones across Gedling borough and the UK within weeks as the government carries out a nationwide test of a new public alert system.

The new alert system will be tested on Sunday, April 23 at 3pm, with the message to be received on 4G and 5G devices, along with sound and vibration for up to 10 seconds.

When the alert sounds, phone users will be asked to acknowledge the alert by swiping or clicking the message before being able to continue using their device.

woman-phone-worried

The system is intended to be used in life-threatening situations to alert people there is a danger to life nearby, such as flooding and wildfires, and is modelled on similar schemes in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan.

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The government said the alert will only be used on rare occasions and will be sent where there is an immediate risk to people’s lives, so it is possible that phone users may not receive an alert for months or years.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden said: “Getting this system operational with the national test means we have another tool in our toolkit to keep the public safe in life-threatening emergencies. It could be the sound that saves your life.”

The test on St George’s Day had originally been planned for the early evening but was moved to avoid clashing with an FA Cup semi-final, which kicks off at 4.30pm.

But it will still coincide with several major events including the London Marathon and the 2pm kick-off Premier League ties between Bournemouth and West Ham and Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur.

Officials said they have worked with the Football Association and the Marathon’s organisers to ensure the impact of the test will be limited.

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National Fire Chiefs Council chairman Mark Hardingham said: “For 10 seconds the national test may be inconvenient for some, but please forgive us for the intrusion because, the next time you hear, it your life, and the life-saving actions of our emergency services, could depend on it.”

Anyone who doesn’t want to receive the alerts can opt out in their device settings, but officials say they hope the life-saving potential of the messages will see most users keep them on.

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