European Union member countries have 42 months timeframe to adopt a mobile emergency alert system to track natural disasters or terror attacks. The measure was voted by the European Parliament on Wednesday.
With the advancements in communication technology, mobile phone emergency alerts have become increasingly important for timely information about unexpected emergencies or natural disasters.
Many countries, including the US and Japan, are using this technology. The system has the ability to save numerous lives in emergency situations.
Europe on its way to develop a comprehensive mobile alert system
The legislation is partly based on the Dutch alert system NL-Alert through which the authorities can alert mobile phone users in the area of an emergency via nearby cell towers.
“If there is an emergency situation, a warning message with instructions will be sent to all mobile phones in the geographic area of the emergency situation,” a spokesman for van Nistelrooij, a Dutch member of Parliament, said in a statement.
NL-Alert, which is free of charge, allows the authorities to inform people in the direct vicinity of an emergency situation, by sending a text message to their cell phones. The message will describe the situation and advise people what to do at that very moment. NL-Alert continues to operate even in the event of a network overload, and it is not necessary to register.
Success stories of countries using mobile phone emergency alerts
In the past, mobile alerts not only have worked efficiently but have also saved lives during disasters.
In 2011, Japan’s Meteorological Agency used its J-Alert system to successfully transmit mobile warnings to residents just before the massive Tohoku Earthquake. Similarly, in 2020 Tokyo Olympics government officials released similar alerts in more languages so that international visitors can be informed in case an emergency arises.
Also, In Hawaii, this system alerted citizens, giving them timely updates and traffic advisories during Kilauea volcano eruption.
Recently, US authority sent notifications in the name of “Presidential Alert” to 200 million US mobile phones as a trial so as to check its communication system, whether or not it is working properly.