Alerting the population is an essential tool to allow citizens to prepare themselves for an event, unpredictable or not, and to take the useful and necessary precautions to safeguard people and property.
The task of warning the population is not only important in the heat of the moment, but also in advance, with the aim of strengthening resilience and prevention, in particular based on for example meteorological or hydrological forecasts.
In order to achieve a comprehensive, national, multi-channel and efficient alerting system, a project is currently underway to set up a new warning system, which will have at its core an alert platform allowing all relevant state actors to disseminate warning messages via different channels.
To date, Luxembourg has a mobile application "GouvAlert.lu", launched in 2018, and a national and zonal SMS system, a direct alert system that is complemented by the dissemination of alerts through the national media and social networks.
In the future, a technology based on cellular broadcasting, so-called “Cell Broadcast” will be added, after having carried out the necessary infrastructure work with the mobile network operators (MNO), in consultation with the economic operator responsible for setting up the alert platform.
FAQ : Questions / Answers
What are the alert channels?
The governments warning strategy bases itself on a multi-channel approach, which aims to maximise territorial coverage and to reach as many people as possible via various warning channels. To this end and depending on the situation, alerts can be disseminated via:
- Governmental websites (e.g. meteolux.lu, inondations.lu);
- Press: Radio, Television, media websites and mobile applications;
- Social networks;
- Mobile applications, such as GouvAlert;
- Sirens (currently only foreseen in case of nuclear alert);
- In the future Cell Broadcast.
The multiplicity and diversity of the means of alerting ensure that an alert reaches as many people as possible.
Download of the mobile Application „GouvAlert“
The mobile Application „GouvAlert“ can be downloaded from the „App Store“ und „Google Play“. Regular Updates allow a proper usage of the App.
Do I have to register to receive alerts via SMS?
No. Mobile network operators are in charge of distributing alerts via SMS. The Government does not collect or store any personal data in the context of the alert system.
How are SMS alerts distributed?
When an administration decides to alert the population, the mobile network operators will be instructed by the latter to send an SMS to any person on Luxembourg territory (in case of a national alert) or in a specific area (in case of a regional alert). The Government will not receive any personal data.
Are SMS alerts also being sent to mobile phones managed by non-Luxembourg mobile network operators (tourists, border residents, visitors, etc.)?
Yes, if the person is in the concerned area at the time the alert is sent and connected to a Luxembourgish mobile network.
Why didn't I receive an SMS during an alert or a test?
Mobile network operators send an SMS to anyone connected to a Luxembourg mobile network at the moment the alert is launched. There are several reasons why you may not have received an SMS:
- If you are near a border, it is possible that your mobile is connected to the mobile network of a neighbouring area, even if you are physically in the targeted area;
- When the alert was sent, your mobile was switched off or in "airplane" mode;
- When the alert was sent, your mobile phone was not connected to the network (weak network in certain areas, buildings, cellars, underground car parks, etc.);
- You were not in the alerted area or you were abroad at the time of the alert.
A certain delay between the sending of the alert by the mobile network operators and its reception may be normal. However, this delay will be greatly reduced with the introduction of the "Cell Broadast" technology.
In which situations are SMS alerts used?
If, for example, MeteoLux or the Water Management Administration (AGE) consider that a weather event or flooding could cause imminent danger to the population, the authorities concerned will be able to alert the population using various warning channels.
Warnings about regular weather and flood risks will in principle be disseminated via governmental websites and the media. If however the effects of these events could cause danger for a large part of the population, an alert may be issued by SMS.
In what situations are the sirens used?
In the event of a nuclear accident, the Luxembourgish population is alerted by means of the national siren network.
Depending on the circumstances (wind direction and speed, extent of the releases, etc.), the three signals are triggered by region, commune or locality.
The alarms are not automatically triggered throughout the country, but only in potentially threatened areas.
The "nuclear alarm" consists of three different types of signals:
- Pre-alarm: When radioactive contamination in one or more areas is possible, but not imminent, the alarm sirens emit the "pre-alarm" signal, which consists of a modulated sound lasting one minute.
- Nuclear alarm: When radioactive contamination in one or more sectors is imminent, the alarm sirens emit the "nuclear alarm" signal, which consists of a modulated sound of one minute duration interrupted by two 12-second pauses.
- End of alarm: At the end of an alarm, the sirens emit the "end of alarm" signal, which consists of a continuous tone lasting one minute.
Every first Monday of the month, the Government test the network of sirens installed throughout the country. The aim of these regular tests is to ensure the functionality of this means of alerting the population.
Since July 2022, a monthly test of the siren network is also carried out on the territory of the City of Luxembourg.
What is the strategy for monthly testing of the warning system?
The governments test strategy is based on the tests of the siren network, carried out every first Monday of the month at around noon, with the aim to check the functionality of this warning system for many years. In view of the importance of reaching an informed population, the tests were extended to other warning channels, such as regional SMS.
During the test of the SMS system (national or regional), the following SMS is sent from noon: "LU-ALERT / ALERT TEST / NO ACTION REQUIRED / KEINE HANDLUNG ERFORDERLICH / INFOS: GD.LU/LU-ALERT".
The aim of the monthly test strategy is to ensure the functionality of the various alert channels, to identify possible points of improvement and, above all, to make citizens aware of the use of the alert channels. The long-term testing strategy, carried out on a regular basis, aims to ensure the resilience of the population in the face of emergency or crisis situations that could have an impact on public safety.
In the interest of continuous improvement, recipients are invited to send any feedback they may have to the government at the following address: email@example.com