18 October 2018

Alerts and information now available via Alertswiss

With the upgraded version of Alertswiss, the federal government and cantons have created a new platform for alerting and informing the general public. As of today, the authorities will also issue public warnings and information on hazardous situations via Alertswiss. The new Alertswiss app and Alertswiss website represent the most up-to-date channels for providing alerts.

Alert and communications systems such as the sounding of sirens and announcements on the radio no longer serve to alert the general public swiftly and comprehensively enough in emergency situations. That is why the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP has chosen to pursue a multi-channel strategy, with the aim of broadcasting alerts, warnings and event information simultaneously on a number of channels. In this way, it hopes to reach members of the population through the very media they use in their everyday lives.

Direct line between the authorities and the general public

Alertswiss provides alerts, warnings and information about hazardous situations in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein

By upgrading Alertswiss, the FOCP has enabled the competent authorities to reach the population at large directly in the event of a disaster. In emergency and disaster situations, it is particularly important that these authorities can issue recommendations or instructions on how to act – quickly and directly – to the people affected, letting them know what they should do and how to protect themselves. These things save lives.

One core system, a multitude of output channels

The Polyalert remote-control siren system has evolved to become the core system for providing alerts and event information. The new system’s flexible architecture will allow additional information channels to be added in future.

The new alert system is based on reports being input and triggered by the Polyalert core system. In addition to sirens and radio, the Alertswiss app and Alertswiss website are now also connected to the system, along with the Twitter accounts of the emergency response organisation. In future, it will be possible to broadcast alarms and event information on further channels such as monitors in public places or news portals, in addition to the sirens, radio, app and website.

Getting alerts and information via the app and website

Posting alerts and information on the app and website opens up a whole range of new possibilities: detailed and visual information on the event, its location, the consequences and how to respond can now be provided in a user-friendly way. The introduction of three different report levels (alerts, warnings and information) means that information can be provided swiftly and in a way that is guaranteed to reach the target audience, even in the case of small-scale incidents such as contaminated drinking water in a particular commune.

The national Alertswiss app now sends alerts, warnings and information on dangers and hazards directly to users ‘smartphones. Parallel to the notifications in the app, these reports will also be published on the Alertswiss website.

The Alertswiss app in brief

The new features of the Alertswiss app enable members of the general public to receive push notifications on their smartphones, alerting, warning and informing them as soon as a situation arises. The app allows users to make individual settings:

The app supports the most common mobile phone accessibility features such as VoiceOver and allows the contrast, colour and font size to be adjusted, making it accessible to the hearing and visually impaired. Thanks to the high capacity of the data channels and the WLAN connection, the Alertswiss app can still be used to provide alerts and information even when the mobile network is being heavily used. Parallel to the notifications in the app, all information on the event in question will also be published on the Alertswiss website.

Download the app now

Knowing what to do in the event of a disaster saves lives. Get the Alertswiss app now and you’ll be ready to respond to any emergency situation!

The Alertswiss app is available free for iOS and Android.

A federal and cantonal project

Alertswiss is a project jointly realised by the federal government and cantons, in which the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP is working together with the cantons and a number of partner organisations to protect the public. The Alertswiss reports are issued by the competent services within the civil protection network. Their names appear at the end of every report.

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