Nine out of ten people in Germany received a warning in one way or another on the nationwide warning day last December. This is shown by the results of a survey by the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK). According to the information, on December 8, 2022, almost 54 percent of the people were reached via the new cell broadcast warning channel. A good half received a warning from a warning app like Nina or KatWarn. According to the BBK, almost 48 percent of people heard a siren wail.

Around 17 percent of the participants in the survey stated that they received the information about the warning in a personal message. Almost one in ten heard a warning on the radio.

With the so-called cell broadcast system, an automatic notification goes to every mobile phone that is switched on at the time, has reception and is running the latest software. However, this does not work with some older cell phone models. This procedure was used for the first time on the second nationwide warning day and did not work equally well everywhere. There were losses, especially in the south-east. The BBK’s evaluation of the warning day states: “In some regions, the test warning via cell broadcast only reached some of the receiving devices. The problems were then quickly resolved by the mobile network operators concerned.”

9.2 percent received no warning

According to the BBK, almost every third participant in the survey, which was started on the warning day, stated that the test alarm had reached them via two different channels. A good one in five people in Germany even noticed the warning through three different warning devices. According to the information, only 9.2 percent of the population received no warning at all on the warning day.

According to the Federal Office, around 833,000 people took part in the BBK’s online survey on the warning day. In order to obtain representative results, the answers were weighted in relation to characteristics such as age, gender and education. To check the results, the Bonn authority also commissioned a nationwide survey of 1,005 people.

The results of the evaluation of the online survey “flow directly into the further optimization of the warning mix,” said the Federal Office. In addition to cell broadcast, WarnApps, sirens and announcements on radio and television stations, there were also warnings on city information boards on the warning day. Loudspeaker trucks were used in some places. Deutsche Bahn information systems had also spread the warning.

After the end of the Cold War, sirens were no longer procured or repaired in many places. In the meantime, however, the federal and state governments agree that a nationwide siren infrastructure would make sense. The federal government has set up a funding program for this purpose.

The BBK announced that some smartphone users would not have received a warning via the Nina app on the day of the warning because they either had not activated a live location or had not subscribed to a location in the NINA warning app. If you subscribe to a location in the app, you will also receive push notifications for that location after the warning day, for example in the event of storms, major fires or if a World War II bomb is being defused there.

According to the BBK, the next nationwide warning day is scheduled for September 14, 2023. “The response to the survey was overwhelming, and we are using the findings to further strengthen the warning in Germany,” said BBK President Ralph Tiesler.