First Warning Day in Germany failed

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Germany’s warning day is over. The Ministry of Internal Affairs sums up disappointing results. The system of informing citizens in case of an emergency needs modernization. Sometimes warning messages are sent out with a long delay, which in the event of a real threat can cost many lives.

As part of the federal action, the federal government, through the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK), sent alarms to radio stations, application servers such as the Federal Emergency Information and News App (NINA), to simulate the process of informing citizens about the danger.

The first nationwide warning day revealed failures in the warning system. So, it became clear that in many cities and settlements there are no sirens at all. Where they were, there was a delay in warning messages from NINA and KATWARN warning apps to smartphones. The Federal Ministry of the Interior said the test “failed” due to technical problems. Everything that happened will be studied and taken into account to modernize the warning system.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK) in Bonn said the problems arose because a large number of warning messages were sent simultaneously. “The initial analysis of the incident revealed that at 11 o’clock in the morning, not only a warning was sent centrally. Many other connected control centers triggered alerts additionally. Therefore, the system was overloaded, ”said head of department Christoph Unger. “On the next day of warning, it is necessary to more clearly coordinate all actions.” He does not deny that technical improvements are needed.

A day of warning is needed to prepare for emergencies such as severe storms, floods, chemical accidents or terrorist attacks. On the first nationwide day, siren warnings and other warning systems were to go off nationwide at 11 a.m., with a total shutdown only to occur 20 minutes after the test warning. However, some TV channels broadcast a test warning in text format.

In some cities, such as Cologne, sirens howled exactly at 11 o’clock in the morning. However, residents of some cities did not notice the test alarm. In Munich, for example, a fire service representative said that sirens had not been heard in the capital of the land for many years. They were gradually dismantled after the end of the Cold War. Social network users shared information that the city was quiet and no alarm sounds were heard. In Berlin, too, nothing disrupted the usual course of the day. In the federal capital, due to dense development, there have been no civil defense sirens since the 1990s.

The NINA Alert app sent a message from the Federal Office to users at the same time the alert started and the test alert ended. However, for many NINA users, the warning message announced and the subsequent termination message came only 30 minutes late. The federal department has received important information for the modernization of the public warning system.

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