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Emergency Alerts on Sunday 23rd April – Why and what to do?

Posted by Jamie McKay on April 21, 2023

An image from the government explaining that there will be a test of an emergency alert system at 3pm on Sunday 23rd April

You probably know by now that at 3pm on Sunday 23rd April the UK government will send a test of an emergency alert text to all UK mobile phones.

Now, there is much talk about why this is happening and what we all need to do. So, let us look at what we know.

Emergency Alert: Why?

 The government say that:

“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.

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.”

These types of alerts are commonplace in countries such as America and Japan – to alert people about life threatening situations, for example, extreme weather and wildfires.

 An image from the Uk government explaining that there will be an emergency test on 23rd April at 3pm

Emergency Alert: What To Do?

Last week the government announced that the emergency alert will say the following:

“This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there's a life-threatening emergency nearby.

In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe.

Visit for more information.

This is a test. You do not need to take any action.”

The message, with a loud noise and vibration will last for ten seconds.

Some news agencies are reporting that if your phone is switched off, when you eventually switch the phone on, you will receive the message.

So, it is a test of a new alert system, and you don’t have to do anything at all.

If you do not wish to receive the alert at all, don’t worry it can be switched off before Sunday.

Here is all you have to do…

How To Turn Off The Emergency Alert

On iphones all you have to do is:

Go into settings,

Open notifications,

Scroll down until you see the Extreme and Severe Alerts option.

Click ‘Disable’

On an Android phone (Samsung etc), in settings search for ‘emergency alerts’ using the search icon, then select ‘off’.

There has been concern raised by some charities that people who have a hidden phone for safety reasons would want any alerts such as this, turned off.

So, Refuge has created this video showing how it can be done.

Hopefully, this explains what will happen on Sunday afternoon and reduces any anxiety or stress that this may be causing.