Back in September 2013, Twitter launched Twitter Alerts, “a new feature that brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.”

As of Monday, 18 November 2013, the same service now exists in the Britain backed by all of the UK’s 47 Police Forces, the London Fire Brigade, the London Ambulance Service, the Foreign Office, the Environment Agency, the Mayor of London, the British Red Cross and others.

Twitter Alerts

Twitter Alerts

The service lets the organisations mark certain tweets as alerts, highlighting them with an orange bell on users’ timelines. Those who follow the account have the added option of signing up for notifications directly to their phone, through a SMS message or a push notification from the Twitter app.

Similarly, a UK Government mobile phone alert system began testing in three parts of the UK back in September which also allowed organisations to send short SMS messages to users in emergency situations. However, the UK Government’s system is limited to pre-specified “civil emergency” events, including disease pandemics, coastal flooding and terrorist attacks; something which may go some way to preventing much of the criticism the Twitter Alerts system has received in the US for perceived ‘overuse’.

Which system, Twitter Alerts or the UK Government’s mobile phone alert system, will catch on the fastest in the UK is up for debate. But in the meantime, if you are interested in trying the service from Twitter, here is a list of the 56 organisations signed up to Twitter Alerts in the UK as of August 2015:


Fire services

Emergency services

Government organisations