East Suffolk chosen to test a new government emergency alert system

Residents will receive a text message to test the service Credit: PA

East Suffolk has been chosen to test a new government 'emergency alert' system, which would see residents sent a text message to warn them about events that may cause a threat to life.

On Tuesday, people in Leiston and the surrounding areas will be sent an alert to their mobile phones in what will be the first test of the new service.

The new plans in development by the government is to issue text messages as a way to warn and provide advice in situations such as flooding, fires, industrial incidents or terror attacks.

Anyone who receives a text on the 25th May, is being urged not to panic. They will not need to do anything and the government is making assurances that nobody will be charged for the alert and that they do not reveal anyone's location or collect personal data.

When in use, the new Emergency Alerts service would send a direct message only where there is a risk to life, either locally or nationally.

East Suffolk was chosen because the residents are already familiar with an existing alert system and Leiston has a coastal border and low population density allowing the test to be carefully measured and targeted for effectiveness. 

Should the tests prove successful the capability will be made available for use across the whole of the UK later this year.