23/06/2021
Information Officer

New Emergency Alert Service

Don’t worry if your phone receives an emergency message on Tuesday 29 June between 1 and 2pm.

The UK government is testing Emergency Alerts in Reading.

If you have an iPhone or Android device you may get an alert. Your device may make a loud siren-like sound. You do not need to take any action.

The alert will say:

The UK government is testing Emergency Alerts in Reading, Berkshire.

Emergency alerts tell you what to do if there’s a life-threatening event nearby. 

To find out more, call 0808 1697692 or search for gov.uk/alerts

The Emergency Alert service is a new way to warn you via your mobile phone when lives are in danger.

The service will be used to warn people about life-threatening emergencies such as severe flooding or terror attacks. Only the Government and emergency services can send them.

Emergency alerts are broadcast from mobile phone masts. Every compatible 4G and 5g mobile phone or tablet in range will receive an alert.

The government does not need your phone number to send you an alert.

You’ll be able to check that an alert is genuine at gov.uk/alerts.

Emergency Alerts will be just one of the ways the Government communicates with the public about emergency situations. So if you don’t have a mobile phone, don’t worry – you’ll still be made aware through the 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 your 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.

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.

The government will be testing the Emergency Alerts service in Reading on 29 June between 1 and 2pm. If you receive a test alert on your phone, you won’t need to do anything, just remember their look and feel in case you receive one again.

Should this test prove successful, the service will be made available for use across the whole of the UK later this year.

Emergency Alerts are being tested in Reading. 29 June, 1-2pm. You will hear a loud, siren-like sound on your phone and see a message on your screen. You don't need to do anything, this is just a test.