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Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister

First published:
20 April 2023
Last updated:

This written statement summarises the arguments put forward by the UK Government and how their Emergency Alert system will be tested in Wales.

On Sunday 23 April at 15:00, the UK Government will issue a National Test message as part of its new Emergency Alerts system three-month trial. The test alert will be sent to most mobile phones across the UK, including here in Wales. Devices will make a distinct, siren-like sound for up to 10 seconds, including on phones switched to silent mode.

The Emergency Alerts system will be used to warn people in the event of emergencies where there is a significant threat to life. Emergency Alerts are sent to all compatible mobile phones within a specific area of risk.

The Emergency Alert System does do not track locations, or need any pre-registration or phone numbers to operate, and the system does not collect any personal data. Only the government and the emergency services will be able to issue the Emergency Alerts in line with agreed protocols.

If people do not have a mobile phone, they will be kept informed through other channels. The system will complement existing methods of warning and informing.

As well as the Emergency Alerts creating a loud, siren-like sound, a message will appear on screen and will provide details about the emergency and how best to respond. People will be able to check an alert is genuine at (external link).

Wales will participate in the trial in relation to severe weather-related incidents.

The UK Government have launched a public communications campaign to inform members of the public about the upcoming test. Welsh Government have amplified this campaign; working to ensure the Welsh language is respected and vulnerable audiences are aware of the test. 

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.