Expect sirens and alerts as Germany gears up for nationwide warning day

Expect sirens and alerts as Germany gears up for nationwide warning day

If you wake tomorrow to the sound of sirens blaring, alerts pinging on your mobile phone and your favourite radio station interrupting its broadcast to make a special announcement - don’t be alarmed! September 10, 2020 is Germany’s first national warning day (Warntag) since reunification, and will see warning and alarm systems tested nationwide. Here’s what you need to know.

First nationwide warning day in Germany

At precisely 11 am on Thursday, September 10, warning devices will be triggered simultaneously in municipalities all across Germany. A test warning signal will be sent to all so-called “warning multipliers”, like TV and radio stations and app servers, that are connected to the federal modular warning system. At the same time, communal warning devices like sirens, digital billboards and loudspeaker vans will also be triggered.

What’s the point of this cacophony, you ask? Well, Germany is testing its warning system, which is designed to alert the population in the event of major life-threatening events like floods, storms, fires or attacks, so that everyone can bring themselves and their families to safety. The alerts are also used if basic supply systems like electricity and gas, water, internet or telephone are interrupted. This is the first time since reunification that the warning day has been jointly coordinated by the federal and state governments. 

What do I need to do? 

You don’t need to do anything - it’s just good to know what’s going on so that nobody feels alarmed! The siren will sound for around one minute - the signal for danger - before later being followed by a long, single tone that announces the all-clear. 

In a non-test scenario, if you hear the siren, you are advised to actively inform yourself of the situation via radio, television, your municipality’s website, social media or a warning app and follow the appropriate recommendations. 

And it’s probably a good idea to put next year’s warning day in your calendar now, so you don’t get caught off guard! It will now take place nationwide once a year, always in the second week of September. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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