Android phones have a built-in emergency alert system. (symbolic picture)

The Department of Telecommunications on Friday issued an emergency alert on mobile phones across India. The popup alert received by most Android users contains a test message informing users about the government initiative. The text of the message reads: “This is a sample test message sent by the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, through the Cell Broadcasting System. Please ignore this message as no action is required on your part. This message is a test message. PAN has been sent – India Emergency Alert System is being implemented by the National Disaster Management Authority. It aims to enhance public safety and provide timely alerts during emergencies.”

The test message that surprised many users is the government’s way of testing the emergency cell transmission technology developed by the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT).

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While this is a good initiative from the government, here is how Android users can activate the security feature on their phones to alert their contacts:

In Google Pixel phones

Google offers personal safety apps that save and share your emergency information. It also has the ability to automatically contact emergency services in some countries and regions and with some carriers.

On the Google Play Store, the app’s description states that it “helps you prepare and respond to emergencies by quickly connecting you to the help and information you need”.

It allows users to send an emergency SOS by pressing the power button 5 times or more. It also allows users to share their location, current activities, device specifications, and locations with the emergency contacts they have listed.

However, the app works on Android 12 and later operating systems.

For other Android users

These users can find the Security or Safety & emergency option in Settings. Users can fill in the contacts they want to notify in case of an emergency.

The feature also has the option to enter medical information.

Anyone who picks up your phone can see your lock screen messages and emergency information, even if your phone is locked and the option is enabled.

Additionally, Location Services and Emergency SOS can be turned on to allow others to trace your phone’s location.

On Android 12 and earlier, users can sign in with their Google accounts, add emergency contacts, and list medical information.