• Switzerland's news in English
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
An armed Swiss policeman. Photo: AFP

Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system

The Local · 9 Sep 2016, 12:28

Published: 09 Sep 2016 12:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The app should be ready by autumn 2017, with versions for both iOS and Android devices.

"People no longer just be warned by sirens and radio," the call for tenders explains, according to 20 Minuten. "In the future, the spread of local information should be done via a push notification for all phases of an event."

The government also intends to use the app more frequently than radio alerts or sirens are currently used, in order to keep the public better informed.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) first announced its plans to build an app in late July, reportedly inspired by the swift response of German police to the Munich shooting. Then, local police used social media networks to communicate with the public and issue instructions as well as timely updates on the situation.

Now a call for tenders has been issued - a necessity under World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines, as projects exceeding 230,000 francs must be open for competition. The final cost of the project is not yet known and will depend on the offers received.

The system will use an existing app as its basis; Alertswiss 1.0, which was created by company Zurich Ubique Engineering, in 2015. Alertswiss issues information about attacks or disasters and advice on what to do in order to stay safe and minimize damage, for example during floods.

This app cost 148,304 francs to build and has been downloaded 38,000 times, but the government hopes the new version will be even more widely used.

The idea is similar to a national alert system launched in France ahead of the Euro 2016 championships, following the co-ordinated attacks across Paris in November last year.

However, makers of the French app came under fire in July, when the app took hours to update following the truck attack in Nice on Bastille Day which left 86 dead and hundreds more injured. The SAIP app did not alert users until around 90 minutes after the event.

Story continues below…

And even in this early stage, the Swiss plan has also attracted criticism.

A telecoms expert at Verivox, Ralf Beyeler, criticized the "reliance on technology which would overload the mobile networks in case of crisis," Le Matin reported.

Beyeler favoured the use of a Cell Broadcast system instead, a system less liable to crash under heavy traffic and which is used as part of Japan's earthquake warning system.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available