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In case of emergency: new text alert system goes on trial in UK

Emergency alerts via mobile phone tests underway in the UK
Text alerts could help folks respond faster in emergencies

Mobile phone users in some areas of the UK will soon be receiving text messages when emergency situations develop in their locale, as part of a new government trial.

The Cabinet Office says it is working with the UK's three biggest mobile networks, EE, O2 and Vodafone, to test a US-style alert system which will warn of severe weather, industrial incidents and other emergencies.

The scheme will be tested in on up to 50,000 mobile users in parts of Yorkshire, Suffolk and Glasgow via text and CB messages delivered directly to the handset. Alerts will be marked as 'test' during the trial.

Countries like the US, The Netherlands and Australia already have measures in place to notify users to be on the look out for cars suspected in kidnappings, escaped felons and wanted fugitives.

Other nations that are more susceptible to natural disasters, such as Japan and Chile, are also in the process of implementing their own mechanisms.

Potential lifesaver?

The idea is that the early alert system will keep mobile users vigilant and could even save lives during emergency situations.

If you're interested, you can check out a list of those potential scenarios in the rather ominous sounding National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies 2013 government report.