What happens when you get an emergency alert?
In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe. Your mobile phone or tablet may:
- make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent;
- read out the alert.
The sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds.
If you receive an alert, it will include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.
Any alerts sent to you will be based on your location at the time and not where you live or work.
You do not need to turn on location services to receive alerts and the Government does not need to know your phone number or location to send you an alert.
Reasons you might get an alert
You may get alerts about:
- severe flooding;
- extreme weather
Emergency alerts will only be sent by:
- the emergency services
- Government departments, agencies and public bodies that deal with emergencies.
What you need to do if you get an alert.
If you get an alert, stop what you’re doing and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you’re driving or riding when you get an alert
- Don’t read or otherwise respond to an emergency alert.
- 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.
Remember, it is illegal to use a hand-held device while driving or riding.
If you cannot receive emergency 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.
If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted
If you have a vision or hearing impairment, audio and vibration attention signals will let you know you have an emergency alert.
Switching off the Emergency Alerts system if you are experiencing Domestic Abuse
To avoid being put at risk, people experiencing domestic abuse, who for their safety have a secret or secondary mobile phone, are being advised to run off Emergency Alerts.
This is because the alert will play a sound even if the phone is on silent. The alert will play a loud siren and vibrate, and the phone will not be useable until the alert is acknowledged.