The recent storms, especially those in July 2021, which had an impact on the entire population, reinforced the government's decision in 2020 to keep working on a new warning system. At a technical briefing on 4 March 2022, the concept of a multi-channel warning system was presented, the aim of which is to reach a maximum of the population by using a single platform linked to several communication channels. Thus, in the future, warnings of the national authorities will be sent through this platform.
Alerting the population is an indispensable prerequisite for citizens to prepare for any events (of a foreseeable nature or not) and to take necessary precautions to save people and property. Indeed, the mission of population warning, which has been the responsibility of the Minister of Home Affairs since 2018, is not only to be accomplished in the heat of the moment, but is also important beforehand in order to take preventive action and increase resilience.
In order to be able to build a comprehensive, national, efficient system that works through several channels, a draft concept has been drawn up in recent months, based on an approach and macro-planning aimed at state administrations that issue warnings.
So far, Luxembourg already operates a mobile app "GouvAlert.lu", launched in 2018, as well as a national and a limited zonal SMS system, both channels used in the red warning issued by MeteoLux on 18 February 2022. The mobile application will first be updated to improve ergonomics, in particular the display of warnings, and to introduce new features needed to implement a new regular testing strategy of the warning system.
Based on the experience gained so far and the analyses of the last few months, it has been determined that, in addition to improving the existing tools, the warning system must be based on two different pillars: on the one hand, the use of additional technologies that ensure the dissemination of messages for mobile phones and, on the other hand, the definition of internal structures that allow all those involved to use the warning system in a coordinated and standardised manner.
The establishment of the technical infrastructure by the mobile network operators, which will enable the sending of geolocated SMS (location-based SMS - LB-SMS) and cell broadcast messages, will be accompanied by the establishment of a central warning platform, which will form the core of the future system for warning the population and will be connected to the various infrastructures. This will ensure structured and coordinated communication of the disseminated messages to reach a maximum of the population. The central warning platform will be expandable, so that other means of communication such as media and social networks can be reached directly in case of possible future developments.
Mobile network operators will be involved throughout the process to contribute their expertise.
Press release by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the High Commission for National Protection (HCPN)