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National Emergency Alerts service

The new UK-wide emergency alerts service launched on Sunday 19 March 2023. The service will focus on events like extreme weather and will warn you if there is a danger to life nearby.

In an emergency, your phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.

About emergency alerts

Emergency Alerts are messages sent to all compatible 4G and 5G mobile phones when there’s a danger to your life in the area you’re located.

If you get an Emergency Alert on your phone, you’ll hear a loud, siren-like sound and your phone will use a distinct vibration. A message on your screen will tell you about the emergency and what you need to do. You can listen to an example of an emergency alert here.

  • You will get alerts based on your current location – not where you live or work.
  • No one will collect or share data about you, your device or your location when you receive an alert.
  • You will not get alerts if your device is turned off or in aeroplane mode.
  • Emergency alerts are free. You do not need to sign up for them or download an app.

Emergency alerts will only be sent by:

  • The emergency services
  • Government departments, agencies and public bodies that deal with emergencies            

For most people, the chance of receiving an alert will be low.

You’ll be able to check an alert is genuine at If you receive an alert, read the alert carefully and follow the instructions.


Depending on your phone’s features, the alert will work with screen magnification and may read the message out for you having also overridden volume settings. The unique noise emitted by the phone should also be audible for those who use a hearing aid.

Emergency Alerts will be just one of the ways the Government communicates with the public about emergency situations. So if you don’t have a mobile phone, don’t worry – you’ll still be made aware through the media and local emergency services.

If you're driving

You must not hold a mobile phone while driving or riding a motorcycle. It is illegal to do so.

If you receive an alert while driving, do not pick up your phone and attempt to deal with the message. Continue driving as normal, staying in full control of your vehicle. If you feel the need to look at your phone, you must find a safe and legal place to pull over first.

More information

Further information is available from Frequently asked questions about the service are available here.

You can opt out of receiving emergency alerts; for more information on how to opt out please go to

For North Herts Council updates about important news or any disruption to council services, sign up to our free text alert service.