Two years ago there were a number of breakdowns on the first nationwide warning day. Today, December 8th, at 11 a.m., everything is supposed to get better. Then another warning day takes place. FOCUS online tells you what you need to know and how you can prepare.

At 11 a.m. on December 8, Germany is rehearsing the start of a disaster. Warnings should then go out via all possible channels. Mobile phones are also to be involved for the first time. The test messages are intended to show whether the civil protection works.

For the millions of recipients of the warning day, “there is no danger,” the statement said.

The test messages for the warning day are triggered centrally by the federal government at 11 a.m. to check the functionality of the information channels that can be controlled in Germany. The all-clear is scheduled for 11:45 a.m.

Test alerts are broadcast over metropolitan areas via radio and television, cellular networks, sirens, loudspeakers and digital scoreboards.

Test warnings appear on the cell phone if owners have installed the warning apps Nina, BIWApp and Katwarn. The best warning apps are here.

The mobile phone providers Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica O2 also want to send a corresponding test message via SMS at 11 a.m.

The test alert appears on the home screen of the mobile device and comes with an alert tone that you will hear even if your phone is on silent.

Those affected should be able to read the test message even when the device is on the lock screen. On Android devices, “DE-Alert” is then displayed and a red warning sign is displayed over the message. iPhone devices will then say “Emergency Alert” next to a yellow warning sign.

The message may say “Trial registration nationwide. There is no danger.”

Warning Day – Is Cell Broadcast active on your smartphone?

Yes and no.

Not all cell phones can receive the warning messages. Devices that no longer receive official updates from Google or Apple are excluded. You can check today if your phone is compatible by checking for updates in Settings. If it says that your smartphone is no longer served with updates, you will probably not receive any notifications on the warning day.

Basically, warning messages are automatically active on iPhone devices if at least iOS 15.6.1 is installed. Android smartphones with operating system version 11 or higher are fit for the test warning. You can find out the operating system under “Settings”, then “General” and then “About” for Apple devices and under “Settings”, then “About smartphone” and then “Android version”.

Your mobile phone must be switched on. Also, you cannot receive warning messages if you have Airplane mode enabled.

The colleagues at “CHIP”-Online explain how the warning SMS works

Yes. And this is exactly where glitches could occur again.

Originally, for example, the installation of 400 new warning sirens was planned in Berlin. After the experiences of the warning day in September 2020, the federal government decided to launch a funding program to strengthen the siren network and transferred millions to the states for this purpose. By August, just over 20 sirens were installed on buildings.

Sirens are not everywhere in Germany.

In many places they were dismantled after the end of the Cold War because people believed they were no longer needed. There has since been a rethink. Sirens won’t be blaring everywhere as coverage is patchy.

The fire brigade, public order office and police also use loudspeaker vans to reach as many residents as possible.

In addition to mobile phones, loudspeakers and sirens, there are also the following information channels that provide information about a crisis in an emergency.

TV and radio stations will pause their programming for a test warning. This is also important because in the event of a crisis, citizens are looking for specific information so that they know how to get to safety.

Information boards in the cities, such as those found in many places in Berlin, point out demonstrations or traffic jams in everyday life and warn people to be more considerate of cyclists. In the event of a disaster or a test alarm, a warning should be displayed on the light panels.

The disaster in the Ahr Valley in July 2021 clearly showed the weaknesses in German civil protection. Many of those affected were not warned in time. 180 people died in the flood disaster. At the time, the federal government declared that it wanted to make adjustments to civil protection.

A lot went wrong on the first nationwide warning day on September 10, 2020. Among other things, the message from the warning apps Nina and Katwarn only arrived on the smartphones a good half hour late.

If it had actually been an emergency, many citizens would not have noticed.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior had described the then warning day fiasco as “failed”.

A warning day originally planned for September 2021 was canceled again. The reason given at the time was that the BBK first wanted to “build a comprehensive test landscape”.