Emergency alert test happens today – here’s everything you need to know
Tens of millions of phones will receive an emergency alert today as the government tests the system nationwide for the first time.
What The Test Message Will Say
“This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a government service that will warn you if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby.
“In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe.
“This is a test. You do not need to take any action.”
Ministers hope it will get the public used to what the alerts look and sound like, in case they need to be sent out in the future during crises such as extreme weather, flooding, and fires.
In an unprecedented move, the Government of India has issued a nationwide emergency alert on all mobile phones, reaching millions of citizens across the country. This emergency alert was broadcasted via the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system and sent to all active mobile phones in the designated geographical area. The message contained critical information about an imminent threat or potential disaster, urging citizens to take necessary precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.
How does the technology work?
The emergency alerts are broadcast via mobile phone masts and work on all 4G and 5G phone networks.
That’s different to how the government sent out lockdown orders during the pandemic when SMS messages were sent directly to phone numbers.
It means whoever sends an alert does not need your number, so it’s not something you need to reply to, nor will you receive a voicemail if you miss it. No location or other data will be collected, either.
It also means alerts could be sent to tablets and smartwatches on their own data plans.
Will alerts be used often?
Ministers have insisted alerts will only be sent in “life-threatening” situations.
But those behind the system have seen increased adoption by governments in recent years, with the pandemic and climate-related emergencies increasing the need for fast and direct communication with the public.
It has introduced a directive requiring member states to have a phone-based public warning system.
As with any new system, there may be some technical challenges or glitches that need to be addressed in the future to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of the alert system. Feedback from the public and relevant stakeholders will be invaluable in refining the system for future emergency situations.
The issuance of a nationwide emergency alert on all mobile phones underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of its citizens. The use of modern technology to disseminate timely information is a step forward in bolstering India’s emergency response capabilities and protecting its population in times of crisis.
As the situation develops, the government is expected to provide further details on the emergency alert and any necessary follow-up actions.
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