<p>People in Suffolk may hear a loud noise from their phone or device today</p>

People in Suffolk may hear a loud noise from their phone or device today

Getty Images/iStockphoto

You may have heard a loud siren coming from your iPhone at some point today - but don’t panic!

The government carried out its first national emergency alarm test which affected some random phones and tablets in the East Suffolk area.

Between 1pm-2pm on Tuesday, a “loud siren-like sound” was emitted from some devices, along with a test alert message appearing on screen.

It was just a test and if it happened to you, you don’t need to do anything. Well, other than tolerating the noise until it stopped.

The aim of the national emergency alarm (once it gets going) is to ensure that people in areas where there is a risk to life - like natural disasters such as floods, a terrorist attack - are given sufficient warning.

The UK is fairly behind when it comes to this kind of technology as other countries such as USA, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand all have national emergency alarms.

The UK government has previously relied on co-operation from the big four mobile carriers to send out messages, but the new technology will allow the government to bypass them and allow them to send an alert to devices in a specific area within 10 seconds.

The alerts currently only work on iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later, or Android phones and tablets running Android 11 or later.

You may be thinking, are my personal details being shared?

The simple answer is no - this system doesn’t need personal details, such as phone numbers.

Having a national emergency alarm in place will certainly make it easier for the government to reach us in the future.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)