Spain can now warn the population of disasters and emergencies

by Lorraine Williamson
text messages for emergencies

From June 21, Spain will have its own system to warn the population in the event of disasters, emergencies, or threatening situations. ‘A fundamental leap forward’ is what the Home Office calls the introduction of this system, which is now mandatory within Europe. 

Some examples when this system can be used are;

  • forest fires
  • floods
  • alarming meteorological situations
  • chemical contamination that threatens public health.

The system was recently tested in Spain and is officially operational as of June 21. This was also the deadline set within Europe. Therefore, every Member State must have such a warning system in accordance with the 1972/2018 directive. 

System informs the population of Spain about actions to be taken 

Regardless of the emergency, this system is intended to be able to send notifications to (a part of) the population to inform them as quickly as possible that residents must take action. Depending on the situation, this may involve closing windows and doors or even leaving the house as soon as possible. 

Spain speaks of ‘reverse 112 system’ 

President Leonardo Marcos of the Civil Defense Department of the Interior calls it “the reverse 112 system.” Conversely, because in this case it is not the citizens who call the emergency services when something has happened, but it is the national or local authorities that warn citizens in the event of an emergencies. 

Huge Leap Forward in Spain 

“This system is a fundamental leap forward in alerting the population and works to complement the existing communication systems, which mainly go through social media. Still, this is an important step because the response time of citizens is much shorter and that residents immediately receive the right information about what to do in an emergency,” says Marcos. 

How does warning system work in Spain? 

The warnings are sent to citizens’ mobile phones by means of a text message. In general, this works almost the same as the NL-alert and BE-alert in the Netherlands and Belgium respectively. 

People will receive a text message in the event of any emergencies. Therefore, there is no need to download an app. The telephone must of course be switched on and located in an area where the emergency occurs. In this way, the system sends a notification to all phones located in the affected area. 

Also read: Useful police app

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