New app to alert citizens in case of emergency

New app to alert citizens in case of emergency
Authorities have released a mobile app to alert and advise the public in case of emergency.

The app, Alertswiss, will send push notifications with instructions or important information on what to do in specific emergency situations or what behaviour to adopt.

Users can customise the app so that they receive canton-specific information or based on their current location.

Also featured within the app is a blog, where users can access information on civil protection-related news; recent deployments or drills as well as policy and planning developments.

All information sent via the app will also be published on the Alertswiss website.

Traditionally, Swiss citizens have been informed of emergency through the use of sirens – which are tested every year on the first Wednesday in February.

But a statement on the Alertswiss website says the sirens are no longer the most effective way to alert citizens.

“The sounding of sirens and announcements on the radio no longer serve to alert the general public swiftly and comprehensively enough in emergency situations,” it said.

“That is why the FOCP has chosen to pursue a multi-channel strategy, with the aim of broadcasting alerts, warnings and event information simultaneously on a number of channels. In this way, it hopes to reach members of the population through the very media they use in their everyday lives.”

The free app, released on Thrusday 18 October by the Swiss Federal office of Civil Protection (FOCP), is available in four languages: English, French, German, Italian.

You can get more information about the app in the video below.