Emergency text alert system tested

THE government is testing a system of mobile phone alerts used to inform rural residents about major emergencies.

Mobile alert tests to make sure the public can receive information in an emergency will be carried out this autumn in Leiston, Suffolk, and Easingwold, Yorkshire.

Part of Glasgow is also taking part in the trial – dubbed 'Domesday' texts by some media. In total approximately 50,000 people across the three areas may receive the messages.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the experiments were intended to test how various alerting technologies work and the public's reaction to them.

Three mobile phone companies – O2, Vodafone and EE – will conduct separate tests.

Leiston is two miles from the Sizewell B nuclear power station. Easingwold is home to the government's Emergency Planning College.

But Mr Maude said: "I want to reassure the public that these tests are not linked to any threat or specific hazard in their area."

"We have included diverse areas - both rural and urban – as part of our tests, as we want to look at how effective the different systems are in different areas in using mobile phones to deliver mass messaging."

The trial messages sent to residents will make clear that it is only a test, said Mr Maude.

"I do not want the public to be alarmed in any way," he added.

"We are also looking for help from the public in evaluating how well the tests worked and how they felt about receiving messages in this way.

"We would welcome the public's views which they can provide via an online survey or a series of focus groups. Further details about this will be made available locally."


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.