Federal and state plans: SMS are to warn citizens of disasters

Federal and state plans
Text messages are supposed to warn citizens of disasters

So that a flood disaster like in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia does not repeat itself, the federal and state governments want to warn the population better – with sirens and messages on their mobile phones. To do this, however, the cell phone masts have to be adapted quickly.

After the flood disaster, the federal and state governments want to improve the decentralized warning of the population in the event of a disaster. This emerges from a first draft resolution for the deliberations on Tuesday. This includes in particular the federal siren funding program, with which the federal states will be provided with a total of up to 88 million euros for the upgrading and installation of sirens by 2023, according to the draft from Mittag.

The Prime Ministers of the federal states and Chancellor Angela Merkel will advise on Tuesday. The draft also says: “In addition, the cell broadcasting system is to be introduced, which will in future also enable the population to be warned with text messages on cell phones.” With cell broadcasting, a message is sent to cell phone users in a similar way to an SMS – to all recipients who are currently in the radio cell in question.

This technology is already used in many other countries. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said about the project: “The warning of the population has to work, on all channels. If you are woken up at night, you have to know immediately what happened and how you should behave. Cell broadcasting becomes sirens, apps and radio complete.” The draft states that the cell phone masts in Germany should be technically adapted “promptly” at the same time.

It also says: “The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states ask the Justice Ministers’ Conference to examine whether the previous assessment of compulsory insurance for natural hazards should be updated in the light of current events.”