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Emergency alert system and test on 23 April 

The Cabinet Office has launched a new system that will give the Government and emergency services the capability to send an alert directly to mobile phones when there is a risk to life. A UK-wide alerts test will take place at 15.00 on Sunday 23 April which will see people receive a test message on their mobile phones. The Emergency Alerts system will allow the government to get urgent messages quickly to nearly 90 per cent of mobile phones in a defined area. The system is now ready to be tested across the country following successful tests in East Suffolk and Reading. The alerts will only ever come from the Government or emergency services, and they will issue a warning, the details of the area impacted, and instructions about how best to respond. The Government has produced a toolkit to help councils communicate key messages as part of the Emergency Alerts campaign. This includes some key messages for motorists which may be useful, particularly given some concerns raised in the media by motoring organisations this week. An FAQ document has also been created. Although the Government is strongly recommending that people do not opt out of the service, there are concerns about vulnerable groups and especially those experiencing domestic abuse. There is information on how to opt out in the FAQs, and Refuge has produced a video on how to do this.