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We would like to remind our communities across Leicestershire and Rutland that at 3pm on Sunday 23 April, mobile phones may start making a ‘beeping’ sound that owners do not recognise.
Helen Kennedy, the Chair of the Local Resilience Forum media cell said: “The Government will be testing the system nationally but its important that in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that we tell people we know, especially those who might not watch or read the news regularly, that this will be happening. I will ensuring my own elderly parents are not startled by this happening and showing them how to opt out if that is what they want to do.”
The new national Emergency Alerts system will transform the UK’s warning and informing capability; providing a means to get urgent messages quickly to nearly 90 per cent of mobile phones in a defined area; providing clear instructions about how best to respond.
The system is now ready to be tested across the country following successful tests in East Suffolk and Reading, as the Government continues to strengthen its resilience capability, making sure it offers the best possible protection against an ever-evolving range of threats.
Helen Kennedy continued: “This sort of alert system may be useful should extreme weather conditions be expected or flooding in vulnerable areas. It does mean that we warn people at an early stage and this may give people more time to prepare and protect themselves from risk. We are ensuring that all of our agencies involved in local resilience are using social media and other channels to tell people that the test is happening on Sunday but we do suggest that we all take responsibility for letting our more vulnerable family members and neighbours know so we can look after each other.”
A UK-wide alerts test will take place at 3pm on Sunday 23 April which will see people receive a test message on their mobile phones.
The alerts will only ever come from the Government or emergency services, and they will issue a warning, always include the details of the area impacted, and provide instructions about how best to respond - linking to gov.uk/alerts where people can receive further information.
Emergency Alerts will be used very rarely - only being sent where there is an immediate risk to people’s lives - so people may not receive an alert for months, or even years.
The service has already been used successfully in a number of other countries, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Japan, where it has been widely credited with saving lives, for example, during severe weather events. In the UK, alerts could be used to tell residents of villages being encroached by wildfires, or of severe flooding.