The UK could join the U.S. with a nationwide mobile emergency alert system if trials of the technology are successful. BBC News reports that trials are to take place in Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, Leiston, in Suffolk, and Glasgow city centre, with up to 50,000 people receiving emergency notifications. Three of the four major mobile networks — O2, EE and Vodafone — are participating in the pilot, the broadcaster reports.

Both traditional SMS messages and cell broadcast messages will be tested as part of the trial, which is expected to begin later this month and run through until November. A report in 2014 will then determine whether the system should be implemented nationwide, and if so what form it should take.

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Countries already using mobile emergency alerts include the U.S., Australia and the Netherlands, and other areas prone to natural disasters are in the process of implementing similar systems. Stateside, emergency alerts have been used to inform the public of events like prison escapes, disappearances and severe weather since late 2011.

Source: BBC News