How to turn off the Government's Emergency Alerts

A new UK-wide life-saving public Emergency Alerts system is being introduced this month. The system is being tested on Sunday 23rd April at 3pm where an emergency alert will be sent to all 4G and 5G mobile phones.

Learn more about the test here.

  • A message will be received on all 4G and 5G mobile phones, along with sound and vibration for up to 10 seconds.
  • Emergency Alerts enable urgent messages to be broadcast to a defined area when there is imminent risk to life, such as wildfires or severe flooding.

Emergency Alerts could put domestic abuse survivors at risk

Even if a phone is set to silent, the alerts will still come through as a loud noise. This could put those affected by domestic abuse at risk to their perpetrator by exposing a concealed phone.

Some perpetrators confiscate or control their victim’s primary mode of contact, forcing them to keep a hidden second phone, which can be an important lifeline and form of communication.

How to turn off Emergency Alerts

Turning a mobile phone onto silent to avoid hearing Emergency Alerts will not work as they are set to override this function. Here’s how to turn alerts off on:


  • Go to Settings
  • Click Notifications
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page to find ‘Emergency Alerts’
  • Tap the toggle to switch off ‘Extreme Alerts’ and ‘Severe Alerts’
    • When the toggle is green, this means alerts are on
    • When the toggle is grey, alerts are turned off


  • Go to Settings
  • Search for ‘Emergency Alerts’
  • Turn off alerts for ‘Extreme threats’ and ‘Severe threats’ by tapping the toggle button
    • When the toggle is blue, alerts are on
    • When the toggle is grey, alerts are off


  • Go to Settings tab
  • Turn off ‘Extreme threats’, ‘Severe threats’, and ‘Show amber alerts’.

Refuge has created a video talking through the steps.

Switch off to be safe

To avoid the test alerts on Sunday 23rd April, another option is to switch the mobile phone off or put it in aeroplane mode before 3pm.

We are here for you

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we are here for you. Please contact us when it is safe for you to do so:

Telephone number: 01623 683 250 (Monday – Thursday 9.00am – 5.00pm and Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm)

Email address: [email protected]