Romanian authorities send an alert message on mobile phones located in the very proximity of an emergency.
For that purpose, the RO-ALERT system operator is provided with a digital map on which they can select/highlight the area where the alert message must be sent. All mobile communication antennae belonging to mobile service providers in the highlighted area will forward the alert to all mobile phones covered by the respective area.
The users’ name and phone number are not necessary, so therefore, they will remain unknown.
Only responsible authorities are entitled to send mobile emergency alerts. They will be sent only in case there is a serious threat against life, health condition or property. Preset alert tests can be also sent. The only agencies currently authorized to send such alerts are the following:
- Department for Emergency Situations (DSU);
- General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU);
- Territorial Inspectorates for Emergency Situations (in the counties and Bucharest-Ilfov).
RO-ALERT System is used in those major situations, in which citizens’ lives and health condition are endangered, such as extreme weather conditions, threatening floods, terrorist attacks and other situations that severely threaten communities.
Alerts will only be sent in extremely severe situations that can endanger communities. For instance, RO-ALERT will be used in case of CODE RED meteorological warnings forecasting dangerous weather phenomena or in case of CODE RED for floods occurring on water streams without dikes. Alerts will be also sent in case of NBRC incidents outside locations, which can severely affect the population.
In case of earthquakes, RO-ALERT System will not send notifications prior to their occurrence. After the earthquake occurred, if the aftermath is severe, warning messages can be sent to population that will contain proper protection measures (for instance, emergency aid and supplies distribution centres).
The central or local public administration authorities are the main source of information should an emergency occurs in the area you are at that time.
Based on the memo sent by the authorized structures, they are obliged to inform population on any imminent disasters.
As soon as you receive a RO-ALERT message, we recommend that you follow guidelines issued by the central or local public administration authorities.
Radio and TV stations, the DSU/IGSU websites, fiipregatit.ro website, the DSU smart phone application, as well as DSU and IGSU Facebook pages can be used as information sources to ensure protection should any emergency situation occurs.
RO-ALERT population warning system is complementary to the other alert/warning systems already existing.
Until receiving an alert, take some time to make an emergency plan including what you are supposed to do, where and who to go to in order to ask for help and who you should look after as well.
Additional info on emergency plans can be found on fiipregatit.ro website.
The way emergency alerts are displayed depends on the make and model of your mobile phone. However, alerts will have some common features. They will highlight information on the type of emergency, its duration, the minimal protection measures, the institution issuing the alert and if necessary, where to get more details on that matter.
The alert should be automatically displayed on the phone screen, with a custom warning sound.
On the Romanian territory, alerts will be sent in Romanian. Messages can also be sent in other languages, depending on the context and the emergency situation.
The system only allows sending alerts to a certain affected area, so as just those being in the respective area receive the alerts.
On receiving the alert, other useful information on communities’ safety is added as well. Depending on the risk involved, authorities will communicate self-protection measures for citizens via this application or other alternative media specified.
At the same time, in order to learn all basic rules in case of emergency, you can also access the National Training Platform on Emergency Situations – fiipregatit.ro.
No, you cannot reply to the mobile alert or contact emergency agencies via this system. In case of emergency, dial 112.
Alerts give priority to a potential danger against communities. In case of major changes in the respective emergency, additional alerts meant to increase citizens’ safety can also be sent.
An emergency alert uses the mobile phone networks in Romania, therefore it can be sent to the mobile phones that are connected to the network only.
The mobile phones, tablets or PC’s that are only connected to the wireless Internet, cannot receive alerts. The essential condition is to be connected to a Romanian mobile phone network.
Romanian authorities perform periodical tests on the system. When you get a test-message, you can be sure that your mobile phone is properly set for RO-ALERT and you do not have to do anything else.
There are several causes that may lead to not receiving RO-ALERT messages, such as:
- the phone is off;
- there is no signal on the phone;
- the phone is not compatible to Cell Broadcast technology;
- the phone is not configured to receive RO-ALERT messages.
Alerts / Sound
RO-ALERT is based on Cell Broadcast technology which allows sending text messages to mobile phones by means of radio cells owned by the mobile communication service providers, without knowing any information on the users in the area covered by the respective cells.
This technology has multiple benefits compared to a simple SMS text message, such as:
- capability of sending alert messages in case of network congestion. Since cell broadcast alert messages are sent through custom channels and are differently prioritized at radio cell level, they are not influenced by network congestion, as sending a text message would be affected;
- capability of sending alert messages without necessity of knowing any information on the number of users in the area, or their location, names or phone numbers;
- alert display without any intervention by the users;
- capability of sending alert messages without additional fees paid by the users.
In case the phone is off or there is no signal, no alerts can be received.
If the phone is in ‘silent’ mode, then the alert can be received.
RO-ALERT is part of a more complex resource package that can be used by Romanian authorities in order to alert citizens in case of emergency, such as sirens or mass-media (TV or radio). In case of emergency, you shall also be informed through other means.
Whenever you get a RO-ALERT message, you should also disseminate the information communicated by authorities to all the people you interact with in your whereabouts.
What am I supposed to do when I receive an alert
Testing is necessary so as you can make sure that RO-ALERT system works properly.
You might as well receive additional test-messages that will make you aware whether your device is compatible to the technology used by the system. All test-messages will be accompanied by the word ‘TEST’.
You should pull over in a safe location and check the message immediately. If there are other passengers in your car, ask them to read the alert for you.
Do not attempt to read the alert while driving!
Do not dial 112 unless you are in danger or witness an emergency situation.
When I can receive alerts
The alert will be received as soon as the phone is on if the emergency occurring in your area is still in progress.
If the alert has expired or its transmission has been suspended by authorities within the time frame your telephone was off, the message will no longer be received.
Since alerts are meant to keep you safe, we do not recommend you to quit receiving them.
The alerts sent are not targeted at certain devices, but at the area affected by a danger. For that reason, certain mobile phones cannot be excepted from receiving alerts.
RO-ALERT national system may not work properly if there are damaged relays or they are not powered with electricity. For that reason, you should also rely on other information sources.
RO-ALERT is merely a way of warning in case of such emergency that could cause severe consequences on life, so make sure you have made a contingency plan in advance and that you know where to find more info during an emergency.
Where to receive alerts
RO-ALERT is used in case life and health condition of the citizens in a certain area are endangered. Thus, alerts are sent to all the devices connected to the mobile networks in the areas under risk threat.
Regardless of the area you live in, if you are located in a place where a major negative event occurs, you will definitely receive an alert on your mobile phone.
No one outside an area under threat will receive alerts.
The messages will be sent via Cell Broadcast technology, which allows the mobile communication antennae located in the area under threat to send alerts to all mobile phones working in the area covered by them.
Alert receiving on mobile phones is free of charge.