The UK wide test of the life-saving public Emergency Alerts system will take place at 3pm on Sunday, April 23.
Domestic violence charities have expressed concern that the siren, which will sound for ten seconds along with a vibration, could give away secret phones people who are experiencing abuse are hiding.
Secondary phones can be an important form of communication for people in those situations, as their primary phone is confiscated or controlled by their abuser.
How to turn off Emergency Alerts on your phone
Women’s Aid and Refuge have both highlighted how you can turn your alert off.
If you have an iPhone or Android phone or table, search settings for ‘emergency alerts’ and click ‘notifications’, then scroll to the bottom of the page and turn off ‘emergency alerts’ and ‘severe alerts’.
For anyone with a Huawei, search your settings for ‘emergency alerts’ and turn off ‘extreme threats’, ‘severe threats’, and “show amber alerts’.
Everything you need to know about Emergency Alert this Sunday
Everyone with a mobile phone will receive an alert on their home screens along with a sound and vibration for up to ten seconds.
During this test, the public does not need to take any action, and the sound and vibration will stop automatically after ten seconds.
All people will need to do is swipe away the message or click ‘OK’ on the alert to clear their home screen.
The alert will work just like a ‘low battery’ warning or notification, and the mobile phone will continue to work as normal.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden MP said: “Put the date in your diaries – at 3pm on 23 April, we’ll be testing our new national Emergency Alerts system.
“Getting this system operational with the national test means we have another tool in our toolkit to keep the public safe in life-threatening emergencies. It could be the sound that saves your life.”
Chair of The National Fire Chiefs Council, Mark Hardingham, added: “We must use every tool at our disposal to keep people safe, and we need everyone to play their part – and the new Emergency Alerts system is one way we can do this.
“For 10 seconds, the national test may be inconvenient for some, but please forgive us for the intrusion, because the next time you hear it – your life, and the life-saving actions of our emergency services, could depend on it.”
Similar systems are already in place in countries such as the US, Canada, Netherlands and Japan, where best practice has shown that they work more effectively in a real emergency if people have previously received a test.
The system will be used very rarely – only being sent where there is an immediate risk to people’s lives – so people may not receive an alert for months or years.
In the UK, alerts could be used to tell residents of villages being encroached by wildfires, or of severe flooding.