People across the country will soon see “danger to life” alerts popping up on their phone screens as part of a UK-wide national security test.
Warning texts will be sent to millions of devices, setting off an alarm, as the government puts its new emergency system to the test.
The new measure has been established to warn the public of potentially life-threatening situations nearby, with the first round of tests set to focus on flooding and other extreme weather events.
The sounding of an alarm will be accompanied by a set of details outlining the emergency and advice on what to do and how to seek help.
The government promised in August last year that the scheme would be launched in October.
Speaking at the time, Cabinet minister Kit Malthouse said the alert system would allow the government to “warn people much more comprehensively” about imminent dangers such as storms, floods, wildfires and terror attacks.
A National Resilience Framework was published by the government in December, which said the system would be launched in “early 2023”.
Until now, the only testing had been conducted locally in Reading.
A government spokesperson said: “Emergency Alerts will be a vital tool in helping us better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally.
“We have worked closely with the emergency services to develop this and carried out extensive trials ahead of its national rollout. We expect to update shortly.”
Plans for such a scheme have been a focus of the Labour Party for more than 10 years, while the government has been promising to introduce an alert system since 2013.
Labour’s Shadow Paymaster General Fleur Anderson said the government had been “haphazard in preparing for emergencies” and the trial was “long overdue”.
“This saga has dragged on far too long and left our country lagging far behind on keeping the public safe,” she told The Sunday Mirror.
“Labour has a plan for a more resilient Britain to ensure government is alert to the threats our country faces.”