Date set for UK ‘Doomsday siren’ to blast out of every phone in the country

Almost all phones across the UK will ring at once this month, as the government tests its national emergency alert system for the first time.

At 3PM on Sunday 23 April, the 'Doomsday siren' will blast out of 4G and 5G mobile phones for up to 10 seconds along with an text message.

Users will have to swipe away the message or click 'OK' to stop the alert and continue using their phone as normal.

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The system is designed to warn the public of major emergencies or disasters, from floods to nuclear war.

But the proposals for a nationwide emergency alert system has been met with mixed reactions.

One Reddit user said: "I know that my elderly mother will panic when she hears it, even though I've told her and will do so again. There are many people like her, and saying 'just disable it' to people whose phone is just a phone is a bit silly'.

Another wrote: "Moved here [to the UK] from New York, where these alerts are already a thing. Just a heads-up that the first time it happens while yo're on a crowded train or in a theatre, it's downright terrifying—hundreds of phones all blaring at once. It's also pretty heart-attack inducing when it happens in the middle of the night."

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It is possible to disable the emergency alert ahead of time.

If you're using an Android device, just open your Settings app then tap Notifications > Wireless emergency alerts and toggle the options.

If you're on an iPhone, open up the Settings app, go to the notifications section and then scroll all the way down the page until you see an 'emergency alerts' section. You can disable the alert here.

However, the government probably doesn't want you to. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden MP, said: "Getting this system operational with the national test means we have another tool in our toolkit to keep the public safe in life-threatening emergencies. It could be the sound that saves your life."


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