The Nationwide Alert Day is held annually on the second Thursday in September. On this action day, the Federation and the Federal States as well as the participating rural districts, urban districts and municipalities will test their warning devices in a joint exercise.
At 11.00 a.m. sharp, the participating authorities and operational forces will simultaneously trigger their different warning devices, e.g. radio and television, digital display boards or warning apps.
In doing this, the technical procedures employed in case of an alert and the warning devices themselves will be checked for proper functioning and possible weak points. Subsequently the responsible authorities will make improvements as required, thus rendering the population warning system safer.
In addition, the Nationwide Alert Day will serve the aim of informing the people in Germany about the warning of the population, thus raising the awareness of this issue.
What will happen on the Nationwide Alert Day?
On the Nationwide Alert Day, at 11.00 a.m., a test alert in the form of a warning text will be sent to all warning disseminators (e.g. radio stations, app providers) that are connected to the modular warning system (Modulares Warnsystem – MoWaS). The warning disseminators will send the test alert to warning devices such as television sets, radios and smartphones on which you can read and/or hear the warning messages.
At the same time, available local warning devices (e.g. loudspeaker trucks and sirens) can be triggered at the level of the Federal States and in the participating districts and municipalities.
How will the warning be disseminated?
As a warning message includes very important information, it should reach as many people as possible. Therefore, a warning message will be distributed via many different warning devices and channels, e.g. radio and television, websites, social media, warning apps, digital display boards, loudspeaker trucks or sirens.
The large number and variety of warning devices ensure that the warning will reach as many people as possible. For example, if your municipality does not use sirens for warning purposes, there numerous other warning devices for warning you in case of danger. In addition, new and alternative warning devices are continually examined, developed and employed.
Where will which warning devices be employed?
Advice: Please inform yourself in your municipality (e.g. in the Town Hall, at the Citizen Service (Bürgerservice), at the Fire Brigade, at the Fire Protection Office (Brandschutzamt)) whether and how your local authorities plan to disseminate local warnings on the Nationwide Alert Day. Then you can prepare yourself and – ideally – also inform other people.
It is important to know the following: Participation in the Nationwide Alert Day is on a voluntary basis. That means that not all the municipalities will participate and test their local warning devices.
Available warning devices will be tested depending on their availability and their capabilities.
What are the aims of the Nationwide Alert Day?
Making people familiar with the issue of warning
The Nationwide Alert Day is intended to inform the people in Germany and to make them familiar with the issue of warning the population. In this context, emphasis is on the following aspects:
How successful was the first Nationwide Alert Day 2020?
The first Nationwide Alert Day, which was held on 10 September 2020, triggered a strong echo in the media. Above all, the fact that no siren signals could be heard at some locations met with criticism. This was due to the fact that, after end of the Cold War, the sirens of some municipalities were removed successively or existing sirens were technically not able to send the signals for the warning of the population and the all-clear. Accordingly, the warning infrastructure in Germany varies from Federal State to Federal State and from municipality to municipality.
In addition, technical problems led to a delayed transmission of warning messages through the modular warning system (MoWaS). Consequently, there also was a delay in the warning apps connected to the modular warning system (MoWaS). Thanks to the tests conducted on the Alert Day, these weak points in the warning system could be identified and subsequently rectified by the operators so that the problem can no longer occur in this form.