The positive first: The nationwide warning day on Thursday, on which sirens wailed at 11 a.m. and mobile phones rang, was much more successful than the test alarm two years ago. Back then, almost everything that could go wrong went wrong. This year it went much better.

For the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), however, this cannot be a reason to sit back and relax. Our country is by no means as well armed as it should be.

It starts with the sirens. Many cities have dismantled them in recent decades. What was intended to warn the population against all kinds of catastrophes was suddenly considered a relic of the Cold War: Get rid of it! The result: in a city like Munich there is not a single siren left.

How short-sighted and negligent many politicians acted at the time was shown in a frightening way during the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley and in North Rhine-Westphalia last year. If there had still been a working system there, people could have been warned and lives saved.

This has led to reflection in many communities and the installation of new warning systems. Nevertheless, there were embarrassing mishaps. In the capital Berlin, the connection of the sirens to the warning system did not work: The sirens remained silent, which is no longer surprising given this “failed state”. Hamburg and Frankfurt, on the other hand, showed how it’s done: There, all these alarm devices howled.

It is incomprehensible that cities such as Stuttgart, Freiburg or Heidelberg deliberately decided not to take part in the test alarm. Basically, it is irresponsible not to expect the citizens to hear the shrill alarm. If something is not tried, you cannot know whether it will work in an emergency.

The sirens therefore urgently need to be upgraded and improved. But the actually timely warning via mobile phone also only worked to a limited extent. The cell broadcast method used for the first time revealed weaknesses. Actually, millions of smartphones should shrill on Thursday at 11 a.m. and display the audible warning. But not all devices received the important test message, others only ten or twenty minutes late.

Devices that were not switched on at all remained mute, as did cell phones that did not run the current software. On top of that, many citizens who spoke little or no German could not understand the instructions given in German. Here, too, the BBK must improve and send the information in other languages ​​in the future.

The first assessment of the trial warning by BBK President Ralph Tiesler was: “The trial warning has shown that our technical infrastructure is robust and that the technical problems of the past have been resolved.” That is correct insofar as the fiasco of 2020 is taken as a benchmark.

Of course, there is no reason to be satisfied. The Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann, assessed the situation more realistically: “Overall, things worked better than two years ago. But obviously there are still too many deficits. That must not be and that must now be dealt with immediately.”

In fact: After the warning day is before the warning day – then hopefully with better results.