In the event of a blackout: Which radio wave do I have to tune into in an emergency?
Created: 12/19/2022, 7:30 p.m
In the event of a long-lasting blackout, the population receives important information via the radio.
But which frequency actually transmits in an emergency?
An emergency radio is one of the most important items that the
Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance
(BBK) recommends for households in Germany.
In an emergency, important information is sent to the population via radio stations.
Such emergency situations include, for example, a large-scale power failure (a so-called blackout), prolonged snowfall or flooding, which can cut off parts of the population from the outside world.
Blackout: Radio as the main source of information
A battery-powered radio can be used to receive important information in an emergency.
© Patrick Pleul/dpa
Although emergency warnings are also broadcast via television and the Internet, radio plays a far more important role.
In the event of a blackout, the first two named are eliminated as sources of information.
Then it is important to have a battery-powered emergency radio (including spare batteries), a crank radio or a solar radio at home.
Even the car radio still works in the event of a power failure.
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How does broadcasting work in an emergency?
Depending on the extent of the danger, radio stations (just like TV stations, mobile phone providers, etc.) are obliged to distribute emergency reports to the population.
"The text comes from the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance in the event of a so-called voltage or defense case, in the case of chemical accidents, natural disasters or nuclear incidents from the authorities of the federal states," says a report by
The executive had this right to broadcasting time granted to all public radio stations in Germany.
In an emergency, such reports should be sent to the public within minutes.
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Which frequency do I have to set in an emergency?
But how do you receive such messages in an emergency?
Which frequency you have to choose depends not least on whether you have an emergency radio with analog or digital reception at home.
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Analog radio: An analog radio receives emergency messages in the VHF (FM) range, between 87.5 and 108.0 MHz.
A specific frequency is not necessary, in an emergency all radio stations send warning messages.
Digital radio: Digital radio devices receive stations via DAB+.
The big advantage over FM: DAB+ has an emergency function, the "Emergency Warning Functionality" (EWF).
This switches the radio on automatically when there are warning messages.
To do this, however, the radios must also be equipped with this function, which, according to
, is usually not yet the case.
The downside is that standby mode consumes more power than analog devices.
How long the batteries will last in an emergency is uncertain.
Whether FM or DAB+ - when it comes to warnings of danger, radio is only one of the mainstays.
Warning apps like Katwarn or NINA now play an equally important role.
Anyone who installs such apps on their smartphone increases the likelihood of not missing any important warning messages in an emergency.