For the first time in decades, all German disaster warning systems will be tested on September 10th, 2020. In the information age, there are many of those.
An incoming meteorite or asteroid, a military or terror attack, a blown nuclear power plant or the spread of a new virus: There are lots of disasters that could happen, at least in theory. When they do, people need to be informed and told what to do.
First Warning Day
Germany has several warning systems. They include radio, TV, social media, a warning app called ‘NINA’, sirens, digital billboards and vehicles with loudspeakers mounted on top. Since Germany’s reunification took place 30 years ago, the systems have not been tested on a nationwide level. It is time.
The Interior Ministers in Berlin and the capitals of Germany’s federal states recently decided to introduce an annual Warning Day on the second Thursday in September. The first one is scheduled to happen on September 10th, 2020. Starting at 11:00 a.m., hell will break loose.
Supporting Self Protection
Warning Day is supposed to support self protection by informing people about emergencies. The Ministers believe the importance of warning systems and their testing is being highlighted by the situation the world is in right now, while the Coronavirus is continuing to spread and kill.
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All communication channels available are being used. In the 1960s, sirens, stationary telephones without data delivery functions or screens, radio and television were the only channels. Since, the Internet has provided authorities with more ways to spread important information.
Outages, Fires and Earthquakes
Germany’s Federal Authority for Civil Protection and Help in Case of Catastrophes (BBK) is preparing Warning Day with other authorities, including the police, Health Ministries as well as Interior Ministries.
Apart from the potential disasters already mentioned, accidents in chemical plants are part of the potential disasters the authorities would inform people about. The same applies to wide-spread power or water outages, severe issues in traffic, forest fires, floods, sun storms, avalanches or earthquakes.
Sirens are an old warning system. Their wail is supposed to tell people they should turn on other information channels, such as radios, TV sets, or go online for specific information about the threat they are warning people of.
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