On Sunday, April 23 at 3pm, a nationwide emergency alert will shut down people’s phones for 10 seconds.
domestic violence Charities fear the alerts could allow abusers to discover secret phones hidden by survivors.
Survivors may have backup phones, as some perpetrators have confiscated or taken control of their primary means of contact.
These secondary phones can be an important form of communication with family and friends.
Women’s Aid and Refuge has issued advice on how to close the alarm.
How to turn off the alert
Switching your phone to silent mode isn’t enough emergency alert will override this.
A message will pop up along with the sound and vibration which will automatically stop after 10 seconds.
On iPhone and Android phones and tablets, people can search for the Emergency Alerts setting and turn off Severe Alerts and Emergency Alerts.
On Huawei devices running EMUI 11 or earlier, search for the “Emergency Alerts” setting and turn off “Extreme Threat,” “Severe Threat,” and “Show Amber Alerts.”
shelter has created a video Describes the steps to turn off emergency alerts for iPhone and Android devices.
And more about securing your equipment on its dedicated Technical Security Page.
turn off for safety
Another option is to turn off the device completely or put it in airplane mode by Sunday, April 23 at 3pm.
The alert uses tower technology to send alerts to cell phones on 4G and 5G networks.
Since the message is delivered almost immediately after the alert is raised, it is understood to not arrive with the same delay as a text message.
Sending an alert does not collect any personal information such as phone number, identity or location.
what an emergency siren will say
Date and time for UK’s first national emergency alert system test
Emergency alerts could make abuse worse
Women’s Aid said the risk of being caught using a second phone goes beyond losing a vital means of communication.
Lucy Hadley, head of policy at Women’s Aid, said abusers who discovered secret calls “could use this as an excuse to escalate their abuse”.
what the government said
The government said it had worked with organizations representing vulnerable groups to ensure they were not adversely affected.
“Women and girls who experience domestic abuse and hide their phones can opt out of the national test by turning off emergency alerts in their phone settings or switching off their phones,” a government statement said.