Government officials in the United Kingdom announced the launch of an emergency warning system that would go live in October in England, Scotland, and Wales.
According to the Cabinet Office, the emergency warning system uses technology that could alert up to 85% of the population through their mobile phones about severe weather and other life-threatening events.
The Cabinet Office also said that the alerts would look and sound different from standard messages and give highly localized warnings of flooding, fires, extreme weather, public health emergencies, and terror attacks.
Reports said a publicity campaign would begin in September, before every phone in England, Scotland and Wales would receive a “welcome message” in October.
The system works through cell towers where messages are sent with distinctive warning tones to mobiles directly via the cell towers rather than accessing a list of mobile numbers, which means that anyone in the vicinity could pick up the alert.
The system would also draw on the expertise of specialist agencies like the Met Office and the Environment Agency in deciding when to trigger alerts to ensure that only emergency services or the government would send the alerts, which could be counter-checked on a government website.
On Monday, Senior Cabinet Office Minister Kit Malthouse said an opt-out arrangement in the system is also available.
“You have the ability to turn it off if you really don’t want to know that these things are coming to your area and are going to affect you,” Malthouse said.
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