A new Emergency Alert mobile phone warning service was launched across the UK on Sunday 19 March.
Scotland will take part in a trial of a UK Government system which will use new mobile broadcasting technology to save lives during emergencies.
A test message will be issued to mobile phones across the UK, including in Scotland, as part of a UK-wide test of the service on Sunday 23 April.
Using new mobile broadcasting technology, the system will provide a way to issue urgent messages to nearly 90% of mobile phones in a specific area when there is a risk to life during an emergency, providing clear instructions about how to respond.
Justice Secretary and lead Minister for resilience Keith Brown said:
“This new service builds on the arrangements we already have in place with responders and other key organisations in Scotland to keep people safe during emergencies and save lives.
“The system has already been used successfully overseas in other countries including New Zealand, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA where it has been credited with saving lives during severe weather events and earthquakes.
“During rare events where there is an imminent risk to life, alerts can be sent direct to people’s mobile phones with clear instructions explaining what action to take and how to seek help.”
The UK Government plans to test the new Emergency Alerts system to make sure the technology operates as intended and alert messages are received by all compatible handsets. People do not need to do anything when they receive the UK-wide test message on Sunday 23 April.
If you receive an emergency alert on your phone, you will hear a loud, siren-like sound. A message on your screen will tell you about the emergency and how best to respond. If you receive one, read the alert carefully and follow the instructions.
The system uses cell broadcast technology – if an emergency occurs in a specific geographical location then the phone masts in that area send a message to all compatible mobile phones to warn of the danger to life.
During the trial, it is anticipated that the service will only be used in Scotland to warn about a life-threatening emergency caused by severe weather.
Only the government can send the alert and the system does not collect, store or use any personal information. Further information is available here about how to opt out by changing the settings on your phone.