Letter: A treat from government

The Government have got a little treat in store for us. It will take place on Sunday, April 23 at 3pm.
An emergency alert will be sent across UK on 23 April. Picture: Cabinet OfficeAn emergency alert will be sent across UK on 23 April. Picture: Cabinet Office
An emergency alert will be sent across UK on 23 April. Picture: Cabinet Office

Basically, for those of us with a smartphone or tablet, and let’s face it, that’s a fair proportion of the population, our phones and tablets will let off a siren like sound and vibrate for ten seconds, and there will be nothing subtle about it.

It will definitely challenge that Richter scale. It’s supposed to be a tester for an emergency alert system that they are cooking up for us, in order to alert us if we are in a life threatening situation, like a fire or a flood.

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That sounds like a good idea on the face of it. Like they say, it could save a life, but will it stop there?

I doubt it somehow. It will just open up the floodgates, so to speak.

There will be more and more of it and our worlds will have more and more shades of Orwell in it if it continues in that trajectory.

The government say it will only be used sparingly and when absolutely necessary. Hmmm.

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The infamous comedy character Jim Royle would have to say two words on that matter, and I would say pretty much the same.

Either that or pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Or a deafening siren, more like.

Returning to the sampler session, apparently, you can use the settings on your phone to avoid this wonderful experience, or just make sure the phone is off at that time (no good putting it on silent, apparently, your peace will still be shattered on a sleepy Sunday afternoon).

All well and good but what about those who are not clued up about it?

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The elderly who have not yet got to grips with the workings of their phone, likewise those with learning disabilities, dementia, or those who have merely got caught up with their day to day lives and forgotten what was coming.

Those with heart conditions who are affected severely by sudden loud noises.

Also, what about young children, babies, and animals too.

A fair few cats and dogs will be climbing the walls, hitting the ceiling and generally scared out if their wits by the siren from hell.

Women’s aid charities are very concerned that victims of domestic violence who have a secondary phone for their own safety may find themselves being busted by their perpetraters when the siren goes off, the consequences of which could be catastrophic.

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There could also be accidents on the road when people’s phones go off when they are driving. The list of what could happen goes on.

Last but definitely not least, all the money that has gone in to this could be used for something much more productive, like putting more money in to an NHS that’s on its knees, scrapping Smart Motorways that are nothing but a death trap.

Oh believe me, I can think of many, many things.

In summary, there have got to be better ideas than this one when it comes to protecting the public.

Cathy Langan

Sheffield, S8