BRITS will from today get “Armageddon alerts” on their mobile phones.
The Mayday system has been set up to warn of disasters, such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.
It is due to be tested across the UK on Sunday April 23 — St George’s Day — when no action will be required.
Ministers decided to set up the system in the wake of Covid because it cost a small fortune to send texts to people’s phones warning about the pandemic.
The alerts will be used very rarely — when there is an immediate risk to people’s lives.
A loud siren will sound for up to ten seconds and your phone will vibrate.
The emergency message will appear on your home screen detailing the alert and may include telephone numbers or website links containing further information.
Most risks are localised, so some people may not receive one for months or years on end.
Other countries, including Japan and the US, already have their own SOS text systems.
Senior Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden said: “We are strengthening our national resilience with a new emergency alerts system. It will revolutionise our ability to warn and inform people who are in immediate danger, and help keep people safe.
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“As we’ve seen in the US, and elsewhere, the buzz of a phone can save a life.” Alerts have already been trialled in East Suffolk and Reading, Berks.
Mark Hardingham, who chairs the National Fire Chiefs Council, said: “We look forward to having the facility here in the UK.”
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