Many smartphone users received an emergency alert notification along with a blare. This is a sample testing process by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to check its emergency alert system. Emergency Alert System is new to India but already exists in several parts of the world including the US, UK and Japan, just that each system functions differently.
The DoT and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) are conducting a Cell Broadcast Alert System testing to protect citizens’ safety and well-being during emergencies and improve emergency communication. This was developed by Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT).
According to Rajkumar Upadhyay, Chief Executive Officer, C-DOT, “the technology is available only with a foreign vendor and, hence, C-DOT is developing it in-house. The cell broadcast technology is under development. It will be implemented by NDMA for sending out alert at the time of disaster directly on the mobile phone screens. There are various versions of the cell broadcast messages that are required to be developed to propagate through telecom network. The trials will be conducted at pan-India level”, reported The Hindu Business Line.
The Telecommunications Department released a statement on 20, July 2023 stating, “Tests will be performed from time to time in various regions across country to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency alert broadcasting capabilities of the systems in place, of various Mobile Operators and Cell Broadcast System.”
The tests of Cell Broadcast Alert System are being conducted on each Telecom Service Provider. As part of this endeavor, tests are being conducted in different states across India. Since then, people are receiving the flash alert message in English and in regional language.
The alert message reads, “Emergency Alert: This is a SAMPLE TESTING MESSAGE sent through Cell Broadcasting System by Department of Telecommunication, Government of India. Please ignore this message as no action is required from your end. This message has been sent to test Pan-India Emergency Alert System being implemented by National Disaster Management Authority. It aims to enhance public safety and provide timely alerts during emergencies”, along with a timestamp.
The Cell Broadcast Alert System is a technology that allows them to send messages to all mobile devices within a specific geographical area, irrespective of whether the recipients are residents or visitors and regardless their mobile network. This system is typically used to send emergency alert messages.
- This guarantees that crucial emergency information is promptly shared with the greatest number of individuals.
- Governmental organisations and emergency services utilise it to alert the public to possible hazards and to stay informed in times of disaster.
- The government is working with NDMA to be prepared to deliver emergency alerts, such as severe weather warnings (e.g., Tsunami, Flash Flood, Earthquake, etc), public safety messages, evacuation notices and other critical information.