Currently, in many EU Member States, the standard government instruction in case of an emergency, after the alarm sounds, is still to ‘stay inside, keep doors and windows closed, switch on public TV or radio and wait for instructions’. However, this 20th century approach has its limitations: it doesn’t allow narrowing down the area in a way that’s easy to understand, and it doesn’t include tourists and business travelers in a satisfactory way, which may lead to more damage and victims than necessary.
During the legislative work on the 2018 concluded European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) legislation, the European Parliament succeeded in convincing EU Member States to commit to introduce, if not already in place, modern public emergency warning systems. In case of an emergency, these systems will inform citizens and all other people in the affected area also via messages on their mobile devices without the need to opt-in, in order to keep people safe and ensure the biggest possible coverage and a more efficient response of emergency services. On top of that, also 2-way communication personal emergency alert systems are available, allowing people carrying them to call for help when in danger. In addition, there are ICT based solutions available to prevent in particular children to end op in online emergencies.
Member States are free to choose the technology for the implementation of a modern public emergency warning system they see fit. This EIF working breakfast aims at identifying what systems are available now and how the possibilities may evolve, and how other systems can complement the public emergency warning systems. European and national decision makers, technology experts and representatives of civil society organisations will elaborate on the way forward and the choices to be made in order to make the best possible use of the options technology offers in keeping people safe.
Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP and EIF Steering Committee Member
Gyula Bara, Policy Officer, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Onno Hansen-Staszynski, Chairman, EZZEV Foundation
Rob Kuipers, Owner, X-Guard
Manuel Cornelisse, Chief Commercial Officer, one2many