The Indian government is aggressively testing its yet-to-be-released emergency alert feature, and millions of cell phone users in the country have seen its impact. Many users in Delhi-NCR region on Friday, September 15th got a buzzing sound on their phones and this message flashing on the screen: “This is a SAMPLE TEST MESSAGE sent by the Ministry of Telecommunication, Government of India via Cell Broadcasting System. Ignore this message as there is no need to do anything. This message has been deployed under the TEST Pan-India Emergency Alert System implemented by the National Disaster Management Authority with the aim of improving public safety and providing timely alerts in case of emergencies.
This message popped up on your phone’s main screen and on Friday many users got it again. During the test, several users received a flash message with a loud voice, which surely scared some of you. People have received messages in both English and Hindi. Hopefully more languages will be supported to help people in other parts of the country.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has stated that these alerts are sent and tested regularly to ensure that mobile operators and mobile infrastructure are capable of handling emergency transmissions.
Government of India uses these emergency alerts during calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and other events. The tests will help the DoT prepare for such alerts on a mass scale. The warning does not come to everyone at the same time, and we found this out when the government issued a similar alert on August 17th.
Such alerts are quite commonly used in many countries, so it is good to note that the Indian government has finally decided to introduce its own system. With climate change, severe events have become rampant, including the massive floods reported in the Himalayan belt this year. With millions of people using the phone, it allows the DoT to send these alerts and warn people of potential natural disasters or other imminent events.