Suffolk To Test Emergency Text Alerts

20 November 2013, 09:15

An emergency text message system will be tested in Suffolk today.

The system could be used to alert the public to an emergency and is part of a government trial of new communications technology.

Three messages will be sent to Vodaphone customers in the area over a period of several hours, starting from 11:00am.

The messages will be sent using a technology called ‘location-based SMS’. In order to route calls and texts to a mobile phone, the network uses the phones approximate location. This technology can then be used to send the message in a specific area impacted by an emergency.

As the mobile phone numbers are stored in the mobile operator's database, people would not be required to sign up to the service.

Members of the public that do receive the messages are told not to be alarmed and the content of the message will make it clear that they are part of a test.

Phil Embury, deputy chair of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, said:

“It’s important that people remember that this is a test and that just because they have received a message, it does not mean they are in any danger. This is about trialling new technologies, especially in rural areas where communications can be difficult at the best of times.

“I’d encourage anyone who does receive a message to give us their feedback. It’s invaluable and will certainly help the emergency services to plan for major incidents.”