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Krīzes situācijās plāno apziņošanu arī tālruņos

Siren tests show need for other crisis alerts in Latvia

The Fire and Rescue Service (CUGD) tested 159 alarm sirens on Tuesday, November 28, 138 of which worked fine. Some citizens do not hear sirens. The Ministry of the Interior (IeM) has also started work on cellular broadcast technology, or alert notification, on phones, which could materialize in the second half of next year.

Kurzeme regional television reported that six sirens have been installed in Liepāja, and all of them worked without disturbance Tuesday. In good weather, the signal can be heard at one and a half or two-kilometer radius, but in adverse weather conditions or areas with dense build-up you might not even hear it in an adjacent building, VUGD explained.

“These sirens are positioned with a strategic thought to cover as much territory as possible, they are mostly urban centers, they are more densely populated areas to reach people as much as possible,” explained Jānis Pošeiko, commander of VUGD Liepāja Department 1.

In the “Lauma” micro-district of Liepāja, where the siren is also located, several residents said they had not heard it.

A replacement of sirens for a newer model is currently underway, which sounds equally loud in all directions. However, there are other ways of communicating with citizens in crisis situations.

“With the help of an operating vehicle, just trying to get around detached, remote houses where you probably can't hear that signal, and also knocking on doors the same way,” the VUGD spokesman said.

Another way to inform residents about the crisis situation is by so-called cell broadcast, which will send a warning on phones. A cell broadcast message is similar to a text message, but it works through another communication channel. All mobile operators and phone models support this solution.

“In cooperation with mobile operators, market feasibility studies have been carried out and potential solutions analyzed and it is cell broadcasting that has been recognized as the best and most effective response to crisis reporting. And right now, this solution is being procured,” said Āris Dzērvāns, chief of the IeM Information Center.

The first stage of the procurement procedure, or the selection of tenderers, will conclude November 29.

In the future, the cellular broadcast system will be organized by the VUGD, which will give commands to base stations to send an alarm if necessary.

The Ministry hopes to introduce it by the second half of next year.

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