Government Alert system test

Government Emergency Alert system test - and what it means

On Sunday 23 April 2023, there will be a national test of the UK Emergency Alerts service. This will test the service created to warn you about events such as severe flooding, fires, and extreme weather, and will be sent by the emergency services, government departments, agencies and public bodies that deal with emergencies.

As part of this test on the 23rd April, your mobile phone or tablet may make a loud siren-like sound (even if it’s set on silent), vibrate and read out the alert- which for people with PTSD or C-PTSD may be quite alarming, and potentially trigger some unwelcome symptoms. 

The purpose of this post is to make you aware of this upcoming alert  and know what to expect so you can  prepare if you feel that this unexpected, alarming and loud noice may trigger flashbacks, panic attacks or other PTSD and C-PTSD symptoms. 

Why this may cause issues for people with PTSD or C-PTSD

One of the many hyper-arousal symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD is hypervigilance and this refers to the experience of being in a state of high alert, constantly tense and ‘on guard’ and always on the lookout for hidden dangers, both real and presumed – it’s stressful and exhausting to maintain.

This awareness, anxiety, sensitivity to the environmental around you, constant scanning and rescanning of the environment can make people with hypervigilance seemingly overreact to loud sounds and bangs, unexpected noises, smells, etc. – which is why awareness of this up-coming test is important.

What to expect

Your mobile phone or tablet may:

  • make a loud siren-like sound, even if it’s set on silent
  • vibrate
  • read out the alert

The sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds.

An alert will include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.

Please note, for your safety, we don’t suggest you turn the notifications off, however, the Government do provide instructions of how to opt-out of them:

To opt out:

  • Search your settings for ‘emergency alerts’.
  • Turn off ‘severe alerts’ and ‘extreme alerts’.

If you still get alerts, contact your device manufacturer for help.

You can find out more information about the alert service here.

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