Storm Ciaran: Do you know the FR-Alert alert system?

Estimated read time 3 min read

Storm Ciaran: Do you know the FR-Alert alert system?

Deployed throughout the national territory since the end of June 2022, FR-Alert is experiencing its real baptism of fire with the Ciaran storm. On November 1, the inhabitants of Finistère, Côtes d’Armor and Manche received a notification on their smartphones reminding them that their department was placed on red alert from midnight. The message was accompanied by instructions such as limiting his movements to absolute emergencies only or moving away from waterways and the coastline.

Triggered by the prefectures, FR-Alert allows anyone holding a mobile phone to be warned in real time of the imminence of a danger in the area where they are located. The notification is accompanied by a specific sound signal even if the device is in silent mode. It does not require the prior installation of a dedicated application.

The alert map posted online on the government’s website gives an overview of the nature of the danger reported. The risk can be of natural origin – flood, storm, fire, tsunami … – biological or chemical – pollution, gas leak, nuclear incident… – sanitary – pandemic, agri-food incident … – technological – serious accident on the road, rail or air network, industrial incident…

In addition to existing devices

The FR-Alert device complements the population alert and information system (SAIP) which includes more than 2,000 sirens connected to remote triggering software, the broadcasting of messages on TV and radio and the mobilization of institutional accounts on social alert and information networks. It makes it possible to inform the population concerned about the nature of the risk, the geographical area concerned – establishment, neighborhood, municipality, agglomeration, department – and the behaviors to adopt – stay at home, evacuate the area…

It is the mobile phone operators who broadcast the alert via their relay antennas located in the danger zone. « Depending on the brand of the mobile phone, the operator and the place in which you will be at the time of sending the alert, different delays in receiving notifications may be noted “, specifies FR-Alert.

In the future, geolocalized SMS

The device combines two technologies. Available since June 2022, Cellular Broadcasting (or Cell Broadcast) allows you to push a notification on the phone’s screen in a few seconds, even if it is locked. On the other hand, the alert notification will not appear on phones turned off or in airplane mode.

The alert can be broadcast in several languages, when it concerns areas known for their tourist frequentation. The message can be accompanied by an audible alert and a vibration for ” affirm its critical character ». Cellular broadcasting works on 4G and in the future on 5G.

The other technology, geolocated SMS (LB-SMS or Location-Based SMS), will be deployed later. This time, it will be a question of sending SMS to all mobile phones present in the territory concerned by the alert, as soon as they are connected to the mobile network. This technology will work in 4G/5G but also in 2G and 3G. On the other hand, “ the delivery of large volumes of SMS can take longer “, specifies the government website.

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