Millions of people will hear a siren-like ‘armageddon alert’ from their mobile phone as the government and emergency services test a new public warning system. The test is expected to take place in the early evening of April 23.
The alarm is testing a system that would allow the government and emergency services to send an immediate warning to the public if they’re at risk of life-threatening situations. People won’t be able to use their phone without acknowledging the message, ensuring people are well-informed in case of flooding or wildfires.
According to the Government’s National Resilience Framework, which was published in December, the system is expected to launch across the UK in ‘early 2023’ but as of yet, it is still in its testing phase.
When tests were carried out in Reading in 2021, many locals noted being shocked by the alarm. Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden informed the BBC, warnings will be ‘targeted’ and hopes people will never hear the alert again following the test on April 23.
The programme has cross-party support but the government has been criticised for not rolling it out quick enough. Fleur Anderson, Labour’s Shadow Paymaster General, said: "While Britain faces increasing global threats, not least from Putin’s Russia, this saga has dragged on far too long and left our country lagging far behind on keeping the public safe.
The government has insisted no data will be collected by the system and the alert is free to receive. People can also opt out receiving the alert by toggling severe and extreme emergency alerts in your phone’s settings.
However, authorities have warned against this and a public emergency alarm could make all the difference in a life-threatening situation.