September 14th is a nationwide warning day for the third time, with Cell Broadcast for the second time. At 11 a.m., various warning devices from the MoWas modular warning system sound the alarm on a test basis. These include cell phones, loudspeaker vehicles, Deutsche Bahn information systems, social media, radio, television, and a total of around 6,600 digital display boards and sirens. In the past, sirens were dismantled, especially in larger cities, because technical alternatives were expected. However, the federal government launched a siren funding program in 2021 to expand the siren network in Germany again.
During the warning day, the technical procedures for emergencies are tested. Once a year on the second Thursday in September, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) tests which warning devices work and optimizes them if necessary. The warning day is also intended to raise people’s awareness of the different warning devices. The all-clear was given at around 11:45 a.m., but according to the BBK it was not via Cell Broadcast. This possibility is currently still being examined.
“We are looking back on a successful warning day in 2022. (…) Nevertheless, we deliberately set up the warning day as a stress test in order to put the warning systems, which run smoothly in everyday life, through their paces. But the warning day is not just about “The technology. With every warning day, we get to know better the needs of the population and also the challenges and necessary adjustments of the warning bodies that are necessary for a good warning,” says BBK President Ralph Tiesler. The warning day is a stress test for the systems.
A cell broadcast alert every 36 hours
The test alarm reaches smartphones and mobile phones not only via a warning app such as NINA, Biwapp, KatWarn or Warnwetter from the German weather service, but also via the cell broadcast service Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB) – the German authorities call it DE-Alert.
This warning method was tested in Germany for the first time by the BBK in September 2022. According to BBK, the last warning day reached more than 90 percent of 833,000 respondents via various channels. A warning is now sent via Cell Broadcast on average every 36 hours.
This year too, the BBK has created a survey in which all German citizens can take part. It will be activated after 11:00 a.m. on September 14th, runs until September 21st and is intended to provide information about how the warning day went. “We are pleased (…) if as many people as possible take part in the subsequent survey again this year and share their experiences with us,” says Tiesler. In addition, the BBK provides a wide range of information material – including school material for children about Cell Broadcast.
Update September 11, 2023 11:20 a.m
Information about this year’s warning day supplemented with details from the BBK.
Information about which provider tested cell broadcast first was deleted.
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