In the event of a flood in the Freising district, the district office relies on several sources to warn the population.
However: some things have to be strengthened.
- Disaster control falls within the remit of the federal states.
In order to be able to inform citizens, they use the modular warning system (MoWaS) developed by the federal government, says Dominik Ternes, disaster control officer for the Freising district.
“The radio and television stations are also connected, as are the situation centers of the federal states or Deutsche Bahn with their information system.” Other modules are social media, warning apps, mobile loudspeaker systems and sirens.
The Freising District Office uses the NINA warning app to effectively warn the population, explains Ternes. "The disaster control authority can use NINA to trigger warnings itself and provide the population with instructions on how to behave."
Civil protection officer defends NINA
However, in the course of the flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, criticism of NINA was also loud.
It is prone to errors and can only help if people download the APP onto their smartphones.
Older cell phones - in contrast to other disaster warning systems such as cell broadcast - could not control older cell phones either.
“Basically, the NINA warning app is not prone to errors,” emphasizes Ternes.
It worked without any problems on the state warning day in North Rhine-Westphalia in March 2021.
“From a technical point of view, that was an important load test.” However, he admits that a maximum of ten percent of the population can be reached this way.
"In addition, there is a risk of over-warning with warning apps: that the citizen becomes numb and no longer takes the warnings seriously." That is why one is relying on several components.
"One warning channel alone will never be enough."
There is a great need for action with the sirens
Ternes assumes that the siren will come into focus again in the future.
"The howling sound gives you a reliable wake-up effect, and further information can then be obtained via other warning channels."
The problem: after the end of the Cold War, many sirens were dismantled.
And those that still exist are equipped with control units that do not allow the population to be warned, but can only be used to alert the fire brigade.
That was the result of a query in the Freising district, reports Ternes.
"That means: the siren is technically not able to play the corresponding tone sequences."
Mobile warning units are to be expanded
The conversion of the fire brigade alarm to digital radio technology is the ideal time for Ternes to upgrade the sirens in the next few years. He points out that the federal government has also launched a funding program to set up new siren networks. "The financing includes almost all costs for the new construction of siren systems," says Ternes. The program should therefore be used consistently to increase the number of sirens and thus the range.
There are also two mobile siren and loudspeaker systems in the district that can also approach certain points in a damaged area and provide information.
"These warning units are to be expanded in the coming year," said Ternes.
However, only punctual warnings could be issued in this way.
"It will not be possible to warn the entire district like that."
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