East Suffolk residents receive text alerts as part of Government trial testing new emergency system
People in East Suffolk were warned to expect to hear a loud siren-like sound on their phones today as the Government tested a new system to alert residents to serious emergencies.
It is the first in a series of trials that will take place in the area where residents will receive a test alert message.
The emergency alerts were sent out between 1pm and 2pm today as part of the pilot.
The Emergency Alerts service would send a direct message only where there is a risk to life, either locally or nationally, which could include public health emergencies, severe floods, fires, industrial incidents and terrorist attacks.
East Suffolk was chosen for the trial because local residents are already familiar with an existing alert system, and Leiston has a coastal border and low population density, allowing the test to be carefully measured and targeted for effectiveness.
People who receive the test alert will not need to do anything, and officials are reassuring residents that the alerts are free to receive and do not reveal your location or collect any personal data.
If the tests are successful, it is hoped the system will be made available for use across the whole of the UK later in the year.
The Paymaster General, Penny Mordaunt, said: "The Emergency Alerts service will be a vital tool in helping us to better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally.
"This new system builds on existing capability and will allow us to more quickly and effectively get life-saving messages to people across the UK."
Alerts will issue a warning and clear instructions about how best to respond and will include a link to gov.uk/alerts where people can verify an alert.