- by theguardian
- 21 Sep 2023
One thing is certain though: the UK government has taken its time in getting the system up and running, taking more than a decade to get to this first nationwide test.
Those failures came despite plans dating back over a decade for a national warning system. As early as 2013, the government was running trials across the country to test the possibility of using public phone networks to send emergency messages at a local or regional scale. The first such trials, in North Yorkshire, Glasgow and Suffolk, were deemed a success.
Instead, nothing happened, and when the government needed to issue an alert, it took almost 200 times as long to get the word out.
In the meantime, emergency alert systems became common in other countries. South Korea, the US and the Netherlands all have widespread cellular warning systems, while other nations including Germany and Japan have maintained older warning systems dating back to the cold war or earlier. A nationwide network of WarnÃ¤mter air-raid sirens across Germany was demobilised in the 1990s after reunification, but reactivated a few years later amid growing concerns about terror attacks. Tens of thousands of the sirens are still in operation across the country, and are used to warn of extreme weather events or flooding.
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