The Federal/State ISF project, ‘Alerting the Public’
Co-finance: Internal Security Fund of the European Union
Duration: October 2016 – September 2021
Funding volume: approx. € 14 Million
This website is designed to give information about our Federal/State ISF project, ‘Alerting the Public’ and the Modular Warning System in Germany.
Research and development projects are frequently implemented by project teams set up for that specific purpose. Such projects have a limited duration and clearly defined goals.
The ‘Alerting the Public’ project team is charged with developing and implementing ideas to improve the way the population in Germany is alerted to dangers. Whilst the EU accounts for three quarters of the funding, 25 per cent is financed by the German government and the sixteen states.
Within the project, Federal and state governments are working to develop and implement joint programmes.
The Modular Warning System (MoWaS)
Since Germany is a federated country, official warnings fall into the purview of more than one tier of government. In other words, depending on the nature and type of the emergency, it may be the Federal Government, a state, district, city or town that has jurisdiction.
In Germany, alerts can be sent and received via a satellite-based network, Because this network consists of various components – modules – the whole thing was dubbed Modular Warning System, or MoWaS.
One system for all
To utilise MoWaS, each command and control centres must be able to access the system. In order to provide as many agencies as possible with the necessary access, our Federal/State project has come up with a way to use the public Internet to get into MoWaS. This is less expensive than satellite access of their own. In a parallel effort, the entire system is technologically updated all the time, and new alert channels are added, such as newly developed smartphone apps or digital billboards in cities.
On the technological side, our alert system works brilliantly, Still, there are moments when warnings or other information go unnoticed or are not fully understood. As a consequence, people affected by an emergency miss the chance to protect themselves to the best of their abilities. Some, for example, refuse to be evacuated because their idea of the seriousness of a situation differs from that of the authorities. Or they have missed the evacuation order in the first place.
We believe that for a warning to be effective, it must be noticed, comprehended, accepted and implemented by every section of the public. What does this mean for us?
- We are stepping up the information, so that you have a better insight into what we do. Public safety and civil protection structures are pretty complex. We try to explain things and generate more trust.
- We improve warning messages for people with perceptual or sensory disabilities.
- Warning messages will be multilingual.
- The idea is for people to receive alerts via satnav or in public spaces.
- We support issuing agencies by providing training and suggesting strategies.
- A Federal/State warning strategy serves as a shared orientation platform. A case in point is the introduction of uniform siren signals.
- We are working to make the Modular Warning System (MoWaS) user friendly. MoWaS should make life easier for command and control centre staff.
- As many people as possible should notice and comprehend the alerts.
- Each should get all the information they need to protect and help themselves and others.
- Transparent, fast and comprehensive information from credible sources helps generate confidence and trust and counter the spreading of fake news.
Visit the website of the National Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) for more information