The 112 message you never want to see or hear on your mobile: Emergency PWS

It is called System of Warnings to the Population (Public Warning System, for its acronym in English) that will form part of the National Alert Network and will be identified as RAN-PWS. And it’s honestly the ad you never, ever want to see pop up on your smartphone. Nor hear.

SAP Population Warning System

This technology, which will reach any part of the Spanish territory with mobile phone coverage, be it 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS), 4G (LTE) or 5G, It will allow the Civil Protection authorities to send widespread and immediate alerts to people who are in areas affected by emergencies or imminent or ongoing catastrophes, thus facilitating a much faster response to particularly serious situations.

Imagine that you are walking around La Palma on the very day that the volcano erupted on September 19, 2021. With the PSW system you would receive an alert on your mobile phone about the risk of a volcanic eruption and its possible consequences, in addition to hearing an alarm beep in the terminal similar to the one that other countries already use to alert their citizens.

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How the RAN-PWS works

As we read in El País, Civil Protection is using Cell Broadcast technology to set up the RAN-PWS system: this technology emits radio messages, and the antennas around you will radiate the alert as if it were a transmission, only directly to all the smartphones that are connected to said antennas. The speed of the system makes it more effective than resorting to sending SMS messages.

According to Leonardo Marcos, Director General of Civil Protection, this dissemination system is “blazing fast, works in real time, takes up very little bandwidth, and is automatic for all devices in the default zone.”

confirm the message

Along with the general alarm sound, if you are in an area affected by an emergency you will receive a notification on your mobile phone radiated by the antenna to which your terminal is connected. And as a security element for the warning, until you confirm that you have read it, the message will remain on the screen of your mobile and the warning beep will not stop sounding.

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This route will only be used at alert levels one and two of the three levels established by the Civil Protection protocol. -To get an idea, the La Palma volcano eruption or the Filomena storm that also collapsed Spain last year were considered level two emergencies. According to the SIA, the public warning system will sound in cases of incidents and crisis situations, such as a cyber attack, a terrorist act, in the event of the effects of extreme natural phenomena, etc.

The launch of this platform to send warnings to the population in emergency situations or major disasters is one of the measures of the Plan for Connectivity and Digital Infrastructures, also included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. The project is financed from the funds of the Recovery Plan and has been launched thanks to the agreement signed on July 8, 2021 between the Ministries of Economic Affairs and for Digital Transformation and the Interior. Y its implementation has been underway since October 2021.

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