On 12th October, many smartphone and IOS users in the country received an ‘emergency alert’ which sent them into a frenzy for a second. But it was no more than a security test alert sent by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) of the Indian government, as part of their efforts to enhance emergency communication during disasters and security threats.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is orchestrating a series of these emergency alerts as a part of the country’s new emergency alert system. The message was labeled as “Emergency alert: Extreme”, which was delivered both in English, Hindi and other regional languages.
The message stated: “This is a SAMPLE TESTING MESSAGE sent through Cell Broadcasting System by the Department of Telecommunication, Government of India. Please ignore this message as no action is required from your end. This message has been sent to test the Pan-India Emergency Alert System being implemented by the National Disaster Management Authority. It aims to enhance public safety and provide timely alerts during emergencies.”
Similar test broadcasts were conducted on October 10 and September 15 by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) of the Indian government. Some users received the alert with a loud sound and vibration, whereas people who had their mobile phones on silent received the message with no audible sound or vibration. Regardless of this, the system has been designed to override the silent mode on smartphones to ensure that the user is alerted during extreme alerts like disasters.