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Emergency alerts

11 April 2023

Emergency Alerts is a UK government service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby.

Emergency Alerts is a UK government service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby.

In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.

On Sunday 23rd April 2023, there will be a test alert sent out. You can find out what the alert will say, here: Announcements – GOV.UK (

The government does not need to know your phone number or location to send you an alert. Every compatible phone in the area of a phone mast will receive the broadcasted alert.

Here are some questions you may have about the emergency alerts:

What happens when you get an emergency alert?

Your mobile phone or tablet may make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent vibrate, or 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.

You’ll get alerts based on your current location – not where you live or work. You do not need to turn on your location services to receive alerts.

You will not receive alerts if your device is:

  • turned off or in airplane mode
  • connected to a 2G or 3G network
  • wifi only
  • not compatible


Why will you get an alert and who will send them?

You may get alerts about severe flooding, fires, extreme weather, etc.

Emergency alerts will only be sent by the emergency services, government departments, agencies and public bodies that deal with emergencies.


What do I need to do?

When you get an alert, stop what you’re doing and follow the instructions in the alert.

If you’re driving or riding when you get an alert, you should:

  • Not read or respond to an emergency alert whilst driving or riding a motorcycle.
  • Continue to drive and not respond to the noise or attempt to pick up the mobile phone and deal with the message.
  • Find somewhere safe and legal to stop before reading the message. If there is nowhere safe or legal to stop close by, and nobody else is in the vehicle to read the alert, tune into live radio and wait for bulletins until you can find somewhere safe and legal to stop.
  • It is illegal to use a hand-held device while driving or riding.


What do I do if I cannot receive the alerts?

If you do not have a compatible device, you’ll still be informed about an emergency. The emergency services have other ways to warn you when there is a threat to life.

Emergency alerts will not replace local news, radio, television or social media.


What do I do if I need to turn off the alerts for other safety reason?

If, for other safety reasons, you need to turn the alerts off, you can opt out. To do this:

  • Search your device settings for ‘emergency alerts’.
  • Click to turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’.
  • If you still get alerts, contact your device manufacturer for help.

Where possible, please keep these alerts switched on.

This information is provided by the UK Government. For more information on how the emergency alerts work, visit: How emergency alerts work – GOV.UK (