Government examines why some people didn’t receive an emergency alert | UK News

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The government has launched an investigation into why some phones have failed to receive today’s UK emergency alert test.

Although millions of people across the country received a test alert and message on their phones at 3pm, some users said that was not the case.

The 10-second alert should sound on all 4G and 5G devices that were on and not in airplane mode.

But a number of people have posted on social media that they have not received the warning, while some said it was a minute early.

One person wrote: “3:30pm still waiting for my national alert to warn me of impending sinking.”

Another wrote: “Feeling neglected. No #alarm for me at 3am. Have they decided that those of us with a Huawei phone are expendable?

A third wrote: “My 911 call never got through and I’m very hormonal and unloved? Does the government just not want me to be safe?’

emergency alarm test

Not all received the emergency alert test today (Image: Reuters)

epa10587764 An emergency alert test, broadcast at 3pm to every 4G and 5G device across the UK, is seen on a phone in London, Britain April 23, 2023. The system, which appears on smartphone home screens and emits a loud siren-like sound, is designed to warn people of emergencies and life-threatening situations. EPO/TOLGA AKMEN

The emergency alarm is used to warn people of emergencies such as fires and floods (Image: EPA)

The Cabinet Office acknowledged that not everyone who should have received the alert did and it would be working with network providers to understand why.

A spokesman wrote on Twitter: “While the vast majority of compatible phones have received the alert, we are aware that a very small proportion of mobile users on some networks have not received it and will be looking into this as part of our review of the reviews. ‘

It said it would also investigate why some people received it at the wrong time.

Cellular network three tweeted that some of their customers had not received the test warning.

It added: “We are working closely with the government to understand why and to ensure this does not happen when the system is used.”

A small number of people have also taken to social media to point out that they have not been able to make or receive calls since the 3pm alarm went off on their device.

The Cabinet Office said engineers saw no trend for the phone’s features to stop working after that, but said officials were in the early stages of analyzing the results of the dry run.

It also confirmed that there was a misspelling in the Welsh language version of the warning text sent.

For the translation of the English phrase “others safe”, the message was said to be “eraill yn Vogel”, when it should have been “eraill yn ddiogel”.

Guests come to appear on the Laura Keunssberg Show

Oliver Dowden said the test alert could be ‘annoying’ for some but could save lives in the future (Image: Rob Pinney/Getty Images)

Speaking to BBC News, Andrew Hamilton, a UK Youth MP for North Down who is also blind, described the warning as “inaccessible”.

He said: “I use a screen reader, but because of the alert tone, the screen reader couldn’t tell me what the alert was about.”

The government has previously said the alerts only work on recent software updates, with Apple phones requiring iOS 14.5 or later and Android phones Android 11 or later.

The alarm is to be used in the future to warn of dangerous situations such as terrorist attacks, fires or floods.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden previously said the test alert would be “a bit uncomfortable and annoying”.

But he added that in the future it “could be the sound that saves your life”.

He also hit back at suggestions the alarm was an example of nanny statism, saying on BBC Sunday with Laura Kuennssberg: “If you look at countries around the world, whether it’s the United States, Canada, Japan and trading elsewhere, they have emergency alerts on phones as another tool in the toolkit to keep people alert during an emergency.’

People who don’t want to receive future notifications can opt out through their device settings, but officials are hoping the messages’ life-saving potential means users will keep them.

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Justin Scaccy

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