Great Britain finally plans to deploy an emergency alert system in 2021. Public testing will begin this month and, all is well, the system will be rolled out across the UK later this year.
The government plans to send alerts only when there is a risk to life at the local or national level. These risks include public health emergencies, severe flooding, fires, industrial incidents and terrorist attacks. The alert will include a warning, details of the affected area, advice on what to do next, and a link to a government website with more information.
The system does not need to know the phone numbers of specific recipients or locations. Mobile phone providers do not share any personal information under this system as alerts are sent to all mobile devices in a specific area. When an authority (be it the government or an emergency service) sends an alert, it takes between four and 10 seconds for the public to receive it.
“The Emergency Alert Service will be an essential tool in helping us better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally,” Payor General Penny Mordaunt said in a statement. “The concept was put to good use during the pandemic when we asked people, via text, to stay home to protect the NHS and save lives. This new system builds on this ability and will allow us to get to life faster and more efficiently. – record messages to people across the UK. “
Other countries have implemented such systems for years, including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand. Alerts sent following incidents like earthquakes have helped save lives.
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