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UK Government emergency alert system test

On Sunday 23 April 2023 at 3pm, there will be a national test of the new UK Emergency Alerts service.

On that day, compatible mobile phones across the UK will sound the alarm – a siren and vibration, lasting for up to 10 seconds. Importantly, the loud siren will sound, even if the mobile phone is set on silent. And this aspect of the anticipated test has highlighted concern for anyone who is living with an abusive person, who then may hear the test alarm and become aware of a secret or second phone.

That’s led some charities and support groups for survivors of domestic abuse to raise awareness of this possibility.

According to the government’s Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) (FAQs) about the test, they say that it is possible to unsubscribe from receiving emergency alerts.

They recommend that people keep the emergency alerts switched on because, they say, the alerts are potentially life-saving. They say:

“…you can opt out of the emergency alerts system in your phone’s settings.

“Just search for ’emergency alerts’, and turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’. You will not receive alerts if your device is turned off or in airplane mode.”

There is a list of frequently asked questions available and for more information about the Emergency Alerts system, you can go to

The charity Refuge have published a video guide on managing emergency alerts for anyone experiencing domestic violence.