STUDY REPORT ON ALARM SYSTEMS AND EARLY WARNING IN THE BALTIC SEA REGION

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1 Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the BSR INTERREG III B Programme STUDY REPORT ON ALARM SYSTEMS AND EARLY WARNING IN THE BALTIC SEA REGION Anna Halonen, Rens Verboeket and Sigrid Hedin (AI/Nordregio) March 2006

2 Eurobaltic This report is a part of a series of reports on the Eurobaltic Civil Protection Project. The Eurobaltic project is part of the wider Eurobaltic Programme for Civil Protection in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). While the project is part-financed by the European Union BSR Interreg IIIB programme, it is also part of the activities of the civil security working body in the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) leads the project, and the whole network includes over twenty partners from all the BSR countries, including civil protection authorities, regions and municipalities, scientific institutions and non-governmental organizations. Within the project, Nordregio (Nordic Centre for Spatial Development, Stockholm) and the Aleksanteri Institute (Finnish Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Helsinki) are responsible for research and reports. The reports will cover the whole spectrum of contemporary challenges to civil protection, from the point of view of the EU and the BSR in particular. 2

3 Contents Eurobaltic 2 Foreword 4 1. Introduction Definition of Alarm System and Early Warning 5 2. Overview: (112) Alarm Systems in the Baltic Sea Region Introduction Alarm Systems in the Baltic Sea Region Countries Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schleswig-Holstein Brandenburg Latvia Lithuania Norway Poland The Russian Federation Sweden Discussion Number of Calls Geographical Patterns Some Examples of Cross-Border Cooperation Overview: Early Warning Systems in the BSR Introduction Early Warning Systems in the BSR Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Norway Poland Sweden Discussion of Similarities/Differences Conclusions: Challenges in Achieving a Compatible and Well Coordinated System in the BSR Countries Alarm System Early Warning A Common System Cross-Border Cooperation References 27 3

4 Foreword The aim of this project is to improve abilities in protecting human life and the environment, as well as cultural heritage. The project aims to support the sustainable development of safe communities in the Baltic Sea Region and to promote safe industrial development and cooperation on spatial planning and sustainable land use management, thereby also contributing to the mitigation of risks from cross-border effects of accidents. This report focuses on the study of early warning and alarm system functions - especially in a transnational context - as a basis for achieving a common plan on compatible and well-coordinated systems in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The report has been made within the framework of the work package (WP) 2 How to involve and cooperate with non-state actors of the INTERREG IIIB BSR project EUROBALTIC. One of the issues of focus in the WP is how to develop and improve effective early warning and alarm systems in the BSR. Material for the report has been collected from the seminars Towards 112 Cross-Border Cooperation held in Saariselkä in May 2004, and IT & Decision Support Systems in Civil Protection and Emergency Management held in Tampere in August In addition, material from the workshop on Information to the Public Warning and Alarm System, Technical Aspects, held in Finland in September 2000, has also been used extensively. Furthermore, national representatives or responsible authorities in the different BSR countries have been addressed with a questionnaire in order to collect additional information. The report consists of two major parts. One part deals with the alarm systems and the other part with the early warning systems in the Baltic Sea Region. In both parts an overview is given of the existing alarm and early warning systems in the Baltic Sea Region, which in case of the Eurobaltic project means Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden. Each part is summarised by comparing the different systems in use. In the common final part we try to define the main challenges for both the alarm systems and the early warning systems. Furthermore, conclusions concerning the development of the alarm and early warning systems in the Baltic Sea Region will be drawn. We would like to thank all the institutions and individuals who have participated in the project and in the preparation of this report. The Authors 4

5 1 Introduction There are several current trends in our society that also affect early warning and alarm system issues. People are more mobile than before and emergencies can be very complex. Modern society is heavily dependent on information technology, and there is great demand for information. But, the different needs of different people should be taken into account better than they are now, for example people with sight and hearing disabilities or tourists who do not know the language or the national safety procedures. Many new technological innovations that have great potential for improving the use of information to save lives are becoming available. However, their full usability may mean the employment of competing ideas and solutions to the problems. 1.1 Definition of Alarm System and Early Warning In this report, an alarm system is defined as the process where the responsible authority is alerted in some way, e.g. through a phone call, E-call, automatic fire alarm etc., that an accident has taken place. An early warning system is defined as a system where an actor, i.e. a responsible authority or industry, alerts the public that an accident has happened or is about to happen in some way, e.g. through a siren, SMS, radio message, etc. 5

6 2 Overview: (112) Alarm Systems in the Baltic Sea Region 2.1 Introduction The meaning of an alarm system is to be the first link in the chain of assistance and safety provision. The main task of the alarm system centres (Emergency Response Centres or ERCs), and their dispatchers, is to receive emergency calls and other information related to the safety of people, property and the environment, requiring immediate action, and to forward them to the units designated by law. These units are the different police, fire and ambulance/first-help departments. In order to create one single alarm system, the EU drew up a regulation, which is supposed to be implemented by the member states. In the directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on universal services and users rights related to electronic communications networks and services - Universal Service Directive (www.europa.eu.int/) - the EU asks the Member States to ensure that: - All end-users of publicly available telephone services, including users of public pay telephones, are able to call the emergency services free of charge, by using the single European emergency call number 112; - Calls to the single European emergency call number 112 are appropriately answered and handled in a manner best suited to the national organisation of emergency systems and within the technological possibilities of the networks; - The operators of public telephone networks make caller location information available to the authorities handling emergencies, to the extent technically feasible, for all calls to the single European emergency call number 112; - Citizens are adequately informed about the existence and use of the single European emergency call number 112. All EU member states are supposed to implement this single alarm system. Every country in the Baltic Sea Region has already implemented the 112 alarm system, except the Russian Federation. The way the alarm systems have been implemented differ from one country to another, e.g. the concerned organizational structures and technical solutions may be different and parallel systems may be in use. What is important for this report is the way the 112 alarm systems are organized. The following questions will be investigated in the coming section: Who is responsible for implementing the single 112 system? How have the tasks and activities been decentralised to the lower level, and who are the actual dispatchers? How many emergency response centres are there in a country and how do they cooperate? Are there still other alarm numbers operating in parallel to 112? These are important organizational issues to be aware of. Regarding the terms used in this section, it is important to note that that the term incoming call refers to calls made by members of the public to emergency response centres. The term false call refers to calls where no action follows, including multiple calls about the same incident, accidental calls (particularly those made from mobile phones), malicious calls, and calls outside the duties of ERCs. The differences between the ways of implementing the 112 alarm systems are not a problem. A common goal exists and countries can learn from each other. Every system has its qualities and when you filter these, each country can improve its own system. Especially the case of the countries in accession is interesting: how are they managing 6

7 emergency calls, and to what degree have they already make improvements towards a more European alarm system? 2.2 Alarm Systems in the Baltic Sea Region Countries Denmark Since the 2 nd of May 1992, the number 112 has been the only emergency call number in Denmark. Outside the Greater Copenhagen area, the Police is responsible for answering 112 emergency calls. In the area of Greater Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Fire Brigade operates the local 112 emergency call centre. Over the last years, the National Danish Police has modernised the technical part of the 112 emergency system. The Danish Police runs 7 emergency call centres all connected to each other by a telephone network in a nation-wide call centre solution. The emergency call centre is manned with senior police officers. All emergency calls from a fixed telephone are directed to one central server in the city of Aarhus where calls are switched to the specific emergency call centre that is supposed to respond to the call. Each answering point has 6 phones, but in case all 6 phones are occupied, the call will be directed to a particular telephone elsewhere in the network, which has been unused for the longest period. When a 112 emergency call arrives to one of the local 112 emergency centres, the system automatically and instantly shows on a screen information, such as the name and address connected to the phone number. As soon as the person making the call confirms the address, the system automatically chooses the correct organisation to respond to the incident. This established system, Alarmnettet, works only partially when calls come from mobile telephones. For the moment, mostly due to technical reasons, it is not possible to transfer information on the geographical position of a 112 emergency call made from a mobile phone. A pilot programme was to be started in August 2005 using cell ID from mobile phone calls to determine the geographical position of a 112 call. If the pilot was successful, a nation-wide solution was to be implemented from the beginning of 2006 (K.J.Hedegaard, 2005). On a year-to-year basis, the Danish police receives approximately 500,000 calls from a population of 4 million citizens (the Greater Copenhagen area is not included). Out of these calls approximately 44% are false (K.J.Hedegaard, 2005). The Control Room in Greater Copenhagen, operated by the fire brigade, receives about 1,400 emergency calls a day (approximately 500,000 calls a year from a population of 1,8 million), which more or less corresponds to the number of calls the police control rooms covering the rest of the country receive together (http://www.112.dk/) Estonia In Estonia, there are 4 State Level Emergency Response Centres that all fall under the Estonian Rescue Board. The Board is an autonomous Governmental institution and falls under the Ministry of the Interior. The centres provide fire, rescue and ambulance service as an answer to 112 emergency calls. The police uses an autonomous alarm number (110), which works in parallel with the 112 number (http://www.rescue.ee/). 7

8 From the beginning of the year 2006, 3 County Level Response Centres (centres on the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and in central Estonia in Järvamaa) were added to the structure of the 4 State Level Emergency Centres. Initially, this change was done only at the administrative level, but by the end of 2006 the change will be implemented also in practice. Approximately 6,000 calls are handled every 24 hours through the number 112 in Estonia (population 1,4 million). About 650 of them are cases, in which ambulances or fire and rescue machinery is sent out. To conclude, there are about 2.2 million calls a year, out of which about 227,500 calls result in real action Finland The Finnish Emergency Response Centre Administration is a new public sector organization, based on a unique operating model: the Emergency Response Centres (ERCs) are responsible for forwarding emergency calls to the police, and the rescue, social and health services. This renewal process means that the rescue services municipal emergency response centres and the police force s emergency call centres, which used to function as separate units, will be combined into a single state-run structure by After the renewal process there will be 15 ERCs in different parts of the country. The centres will employ around 750 people, of which approximately 600 are operators (Landstedt, Saariselkä, 2004). Both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social and Health Affairs are involved in and responsible for the system, since ambulance services are under the Health and Social Affairs. There are around 4 million emergency calls a year, of which approximately 50% are false calls. This figure includes multiple calls about the same incident, accidental calls particularly from mobile phones, malicious calls and calls outside the duties of ERC. From the 4 million calls, approximately 50% are directed to 112. About 46% of the emergency calls come from mobile phones (http://www.112.be/static/). About 50% of the calls are for medical service, 45% for police and 5% for rescue services (Landstedt, Saariselkä, 2004) Germany In Germany, there are two numbers, 110 and is related to the police, and 112 to the fire brigade. Further, there are numbers like 19222, which is used in several states for ambulance. There are different regulations in the different states, but anyone calling either 110 or 112 will get help Mecklenburg-Vorpommern In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, there are two separate alarm numbers in use, namely 110 coordinated by the police and 112 by the fire and rescue service. The Land (region) of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is responsible for the 110 alarm system, while the Landkreise (county/district), together with their fire and rescue services, operates the Emergency Response Centres or Leitstelle (112). These ERCs respond to fire, ambulance need and other emergencies (Wilfried Feja, 2005). 8

9 Schleswig-Holstein In the Land of Schleswig-Holstein two alarm systems are in use, namely one under the responsibility of the police (110) and one under the responsibility of fire and rescue services (112). Both systems are integrated: when one calls 110 and is in need of rescue services, the call will be put trough to the 112 ERC. At the moment, there are 13 police emergency response centres and 15 fire and rescue service response centres operating. 1 ERC (112) covers 3 Kreise. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the organization of the police ERCs. Technical issues are delegated to the Land police authority. The Kreisen and Kreisfreie Städte are operating the integrated 112 ERCs. Currently, there are plans being developed that aim to join the different 110 and 112 ERCs together into 4 integrated, cooperative response centres. To reach this goal, several obstacles have to be tackled, such as coordination problems and financial support (Hans Schönherr, 2005) Brandenburg In the Land Brandenburg there are - as all over Germany - two different systems for emergency response centres. The 110 for the police, and the 112 for ambulance and fire fighters. They operate on their own, but are well linked. The different systems for the police, and for the ambulance service and the fire fighters exist because of the different responsibilities they have. The police is run by the Land Brandenburg, while the ambulance and fire services are the responsibility of the different local and regional administrative bodies and are operated by the emergency response centres of the Landkreise (14) and Kreisfreie Städte (4 bigger towns). The police (110) operate two emergency response centres for the whole Land Brandenburg. For the ambulance and fire fighters (112), there are at the moment 15 emergency response centres, which will be merged into 4 by the end of 2008, while the reduction was started from 18 centres. The fusion is done for efficiency reasons only, and does not mean that the responsibilities or the administrative bodies will merge (Tepperis, 2005) Latvia The State Fire and Rescue Service, a department of the Ministry of the Interior, implements the 112 alarm system in Latvia. The police, ambulance and gas services are still operating their own alarm numbers and response centres (02, 03, 04), but work in parallel with the 112 number. There are 26 ERCs for 112 calls, situated in the 26 administrative districts of Latvia. The ERCs receive the emergency calls and send fire or rescue forces to the accident site. In case of need for police, medical and gas services, they forward the calls to the other operating services. The new concept of the 112 number was under the attention of the Latvian Government in The aim is to decrease the amount of ERCs to 5 regional call centres, 1 centre in Riga and 4 centres in the different regions. 9

10 In 2005, it was still unsure if there would be only one single alarm number in Latvia. There are two scenarios about this. The first scenario implies that the alarm numbers 02, 03 and 04 will be forwarded to the 112 ERCs. In the second scenario separate alarm numbers and thus separate call centres, besides the 112 alarm system will continue to exist (Aleksejs Skaredovs, 2005). There are about 1.5 million calls every year directed to the 112 service, with a population of 2.3 million in the country. 15% of these go to the fire service, 45% are directed to the police or ambulance, and 40% are false calls (Gaplevskis, Tampere, 2004) Lithuania Lithuania has decided to establish 4 regional Emergency Response Centres (112) in the near future. These centres will be almost equal in size and in the number of received emergency calls. The territorial division of the ERCs will correspond to the county borders. The centres fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior (http://www.vrm.lt/). At present, there is only 1 ERC, the call centre in Vilnius. In the rest of the country the emergency calls to number 112 are handled by the local police stations. In the near future the 4 ERCs will take over the handling of the emergency calls to number 112 in all Lithuania. In parallel, there are the old emergency short call numbers to the rescue services, e.g. 01, 101, 011 (fire fighters), 02, 102, 022 (police), and 03, 103, 033 (ambulance). These numbers are to be abolished in the future. At the moment, the ERC in Vilnius receives the requests for emergency assistance through these old emergency short call numbers, except the short emergency call numbers of ambulance 03, 103, 033. As a result of a decision of the Minister of the Interior this ERC will receive also the short emergency call numbers of ambulance 03, 103, 033 starting from the 4 th of October of The long-term goal of the Emergency Response Centre is to develop the activities of the regional units, which cover all of Lithuania and result in the creation of a powerful national emergency call management system (Palmyra Vinksnaite, 2005). The ERC in Vilnius (~600,000 inhabitants) receives approximately 100,000 emergency calls per month. Approximately 25,000 calls are real requests for emergency assistance, the others are false calls (Palmyra Vinksnaite, 2005). Yearly, this means 1.2 million calls, out of which 900,000 are false Norway The Norwegian Search and Rescue Services, under the Ministry of Justice and Police, are responsible for the implementation of the 112 system. There are two Joint Rescue Coordination Centres, one in the northern part of Norway and another one in the south. The fire, police and medical services are still using separate emergency numbers (111, 112 and 113), which function in parallel. The police has the coordinating role in rescue and emergency situations. The police operates 27 call centres, the fire service 24 call centres and the medical service 40 call centres. The number of call centres is high and there is no good co- 10

11 ordination between them (Brydde, Tampere, 2004). The Ministry of Justice and Police is searching for an easier and more efficient way of organising them. The Ministry has made a report, in which the proposal for a single emergency number operated by wellcoordinated ERCs is introduced. This report has been sent to different organisations and all the 344 Norwegian municipalities for comments. Norway, with a population of about 4.5 million, handles 1.7 million calls to number 112 a year, out of which 76% are false calls (http://www.112.be/static/) Poland In Poland, the common European emergency number 112 works both in the stationary and in the mobile telephone networks. The previously existing emergency numbers for the police (997), the fire department (998), and the ambulance (999) are still active. Work is under way to solve all technical and organizational problems to provide the highest level of quality and usability for clients using the European emergency number 112. Poland is in the process of renewing its system, which includes the integration of rescue services and communication. In addition, unitary rescue procedures, shared GIS, document and data exchange, as well as a unitary training system will be developed The Russian Federation In the Russian Federation, there is no single emergency number, and each authority has its own number. 01 is used in case of fires and rescue, 02 goes to the police, 03 is dialled if emergency health care is needed. Finally, 04 belongs to the gas authority. But discussions to introduce one single emergency number, i.e. 112, have started in the province of Kaliningrad. A new problem is the large number of emergency calls from mobile phones to 112. There has been some cross-border cooperation, e.g. between Lapland and Murmansk regions (Alexei Popov, EMERCOM of Russia, Saariselkä) Sweden The public company SOS Alarm is responsible for the single European emergency number 112. The government, the county councils and the municipalities own the company. SOS Alarm relays national, regional and local emergency calls to public and municipal emergency services and ambulance services (http://www.sosalarm.se/). Alarm management and response control for 112 emergency calls and other assignments are managed via the company s SOS centres, in cooperation with rescue services, police, doctors on call, sea rescue, mountain rescue, air-sea rescue, etc. The primary responsibility for the 112 service is established in agreement with the government. This involves receiving calls, interviewing, determining what has happened, and forwarding the request to the correct authorities. Since the beginning of 2006 there have been 18 SOS centres, which cover the whole country. The largest is the centre in Stockholm with 136 employees, while the average SOS centre has employees. SOS Alarm has approximately 850 employees in all, out of which the majority, about 600, are SOS operators. The SOS centres are equipped with an integrated data and telecommunication system, Coordcom. This system will be replaced with the new technical platform Zenit, which is 11

12 a fully digital platform. Zenit is able to receive 112 emergency calls in new ways, for example via Internet, SMS, etc., and is able to automatically locate mobile phones. SOS receives about 3.5 million calls a year with a population of about 9 million. About 50% of these are false calls (calls concerning the same incident, accidental calls particularly from mobile phones, malicious calls, and calls outside the duties of ERC) (http://www.112.be/static/). Currently, SOS Alarm, in collaboration with the Swedish National Post and Telecom Agency, has started a joint development project for 112 SMS services (http://www.sosalarm.se/). 2.3 Discussion After the description of the 112 alarm systems in the different Baltic Sea Region countries, it is possible to compare them and to discuss differences and similarities, as well as possible difficulties in implementing the 112 alarm system. Of course, every country has its own specific (political and administrative) situation that cannot be easily influenced or changed. However, it is useful to cooperate in a transnational context and to be aware of the different ways of implementing the 112 system Number of Calls When comparing the different statistics about the number of calls to 112, and number/ percentage of falls calls, it becomes clear that Latvia, Denmark and Finland receive relatively speaking the least amount of false calls. The highest number of emergency calls to 112 takes place in Sweden, which is not surprising when one is aware of the size of its population (around 9 million). On the other hand, the number of calls to 112 in Denmark is really low, if compared to the other countries Geographical Patterns It is possible to divide the systems used in the BSR countries into two geographical groups, based on how long the countries have followed EU development. The countries in the western parts of the BSR have been EU members for a long time (Denmark and Germany), became members in the mid-1990s (Finland and Sweden), or have cooperated with the EU since the same years (Norway). The countries in the eastern parts of the BSR had to face an intensive transition period starting in the early 1990s, and began to cooperate with the EU only some time later. When looking at the Nordic countries it is clear that Sweden and Finland have the most advanced single alarm systems. Both countries have founded an autonomous Emergency Response Centre Administration department, which integrates the emergency activities of the different authorities. The different ERCs are divided over the country. When one takes into account the size of these countries and the number of inhabitants, they have a similar amount of ERCs (Sweden 20 and Finland 15). When it comes to the number of operating dispatchers, Sweden is a bit more efficient, for both countries ERCs have a staff of 600. In Denmark (except for the Greater Copenhagen area) and Norway, the police is in charge of coordinating the 112 alarm system. The single alarm number was 12

13 implemented in Denmark already in The system works efficiently: 7 ERCs cover the whole country (4 million citizens outside the Greater Copenhagen area), with a staff of 6 dispatchers in each centre. In Norway, the integration of one single alarm number seems to be a little bit more complicated. There are still alarm numbers in parallel use, and the amount of call centres is high compared to the other countries. This makes cooperation more difficult. The Ministry of Justice and Police has introduced a report on the use of one single alarm number that is to be operated by well-coordinated ERCs. In Germany, the same alarm system and organization is used in the three described Länder. But each Land uses two separate alarm systems, namely 110 and 112. The reason for the existence of two systems, which are connected to each other, is that different authorities coordinate them. The three Länder are eager to become more efficient and to reduce the number of ERCs. The Land Schleswig-Holstein has developed plans to integrate the 110 system with the 112 system. When studying the three Baltic countries, it is clear that they aim to implement the 112 number, which is also something that their EU membership stipulates. In addition, decreasing the number of Emergency Response Centres and improving the coordination between them are developments that will take place in each of the countries in the near future. In this process Estonia seems to be the most advanced: the aim is to have only 4 regional ERCs in the country by the end of By comparison, in Latvia there are still 26 operating ERCs, and in Lithuania the 112 alarm system is still a matter of the local level police. When it comes to the integration of the different alarm numbers and cooperation between emergency authorities, Lithuania seems to be the most progressive. The ERC in Vilnius works as a pilot for this integrated way of handling emergency calls. Lithuania and Estonia both have an autonomous department, which falls under the Ministry of the Interior and looks after the coordination of the ERCs. In Latvia, the State Fire and Rescue Service has the coordinating role. The process of having an integrated single 112 alarm system seems to be easier when an autonomous department is founded, which is objective and does not favour any particular emergency authority. Arranging such a structure is a complex political and technical matter, and the possibilities of reaching it varies from one country to another. In Latvia, it is still unsure if there will be only one single alarm system. The tradition of using different alarm numbers and alarm centres cannot be changed at once. For example, the medical authorities want to optimise their own alarm system, while the State Fire and Rescue Service has made plans for a more integrated 112 system Some Examples of Cross-Border Cooperation There is cross-border cooperation between Sweden, Finland and Norway. Especially, cooperation over the river of Torne/Tornio, which is the border river between Sweden and Finland, has developed during the last couple of years. Both Finland and Sweden have an ERC body/agent (ERCA and SOS Alarm) that has been given the task of answering 112 calls by the government. Both countries also have ERCs that are responsible for receiving 112 calls nationwide and alerting ambulances and fire brigades. The difference is that in Finland ERCs are responsible also for directing the police, whereas in Sweden the police handles this by itself. The number of 112 calls is 13

14 also different, as in 2003 the Finnish ERCs received 165,000 calls, whereas in Sweden there were only 92,000 calls. The similarities between the two systems make crossborder cooperation easier. Cross-border cooperation is not a totally new phenomenon. But real cooperation between Sweden and Finland started five years ago when the fire brigades in both countries needed better alerting service from the ERCs in cross-border cases. On the initiative of both countries regional authorities, the representatives of Rovaniemi ERC and SOS Alarm Luleå met. One of the biggest problems to solve was the language of communication, and it was decided to always use English. At the moment, cross-border cooperation includes fire brigades and ambulance services, as well as early warning in case of a nuclear accident. The ERCs also help people whose 112 calls from mobile phones have been directed to a wrong ERC, and also when language problems occur. Cooperation between fire brigades has developed so much that ERCs can ask crossborder assistance immediately without first asking the rescue leader s permission. They can also send text messages to warn fire brigades of a possible need of assistance. In addition, ambulance services use each other s ambulances as reserves. Cross-border cooperation is very important in this region, as the area is huge but the number of people is small. From experience, in order to achieve good cooperation, it is important that the top management knows each other well and has good contacts, so that possible problems are easier to solve (Leif Markström, Saariselkä/Tampere). There is some cross-border cooperation also between the Baltic States. In the Latvian and Estonian twin city Valka/Valga some cooperation between fire brigades has been developed. In addition, there are some cooperation issues to develop. For instance, some cross-border problems occur on the borders between Estonia and Latvia, and Latvia and Lithuania. Some problems have risen when people in Lithuania close to the border have called 112 and their call has been directed to the Latvian emergency response centre. There are also similar language problems with Russians. Furthermore, in parts of the Latvian coastal area all mobile calls are connected to the Estonian networks, including emergency calls (Aleksejs Skaredovs from the Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service, Ministry of the Interior, Saariselkä). 14

15 3 Overview: Early Warning Systems in the BSR 3.1 Introduction When public warning is necessary, emergency managers need to get timely and appropriate alerts to everyone who needs them, and only to those who need them. Authoritative alert messages should transmit on all available communications media as appropriate, including broadcast or individual targeting. Alerts should be converted automatically and securely into forms suitable for each technology: voice on radio and telephones, signals for sirens, Internet messages, news feeds, text captions on television, messages on highway signs, etc. The goal of public warning is that people who are properly alerted will act to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event. To ensure that everyone can be alerted, it is essential to leverage all available communications media. To minimize public confusion that occurs during emergencies, the alerting system should be in routine use for all hazards, not only for rare events, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, but also for severe weather, fire, and other threats. In many nations, communication systems, such as radio, television, and telephone networks, use special public alert technologies for hazards, threats of natural hazards, or civil defence. From the perspective of public warning investments, it makes no sense to continue building a separate public warning system for each particular threat. Efficient use of funds, as well as effective public warning, argue for the use of standards and for combining the public warning requirement for all-media coverage with the requirement for an all-hazards approach. From the point of view of regional cooperation, it is important to identify similarities and differences between the BSR countries. 3.2 Early Warning Systems in the BSR Denmark The warning system includes about 1,100 electronic and back-up powered sirens with associated command and control systems. This siren system covers 80% of the Danish population. Supplementary warning media will alert the remaining 20 %. The sirens can be heard also indoors throughout the area of coverage. It is also possible to send messages electronically to Radio Denmark so that any further information on the relevant risk situation can be transmitted via radio and TV without delay. Radio Denmark uses RDS-messages. The sirens can be remotely controlled from police stations, which have staff always on duty, and from local Civil Defence command & control centres (Workshop 2000). The police and Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) have authorization to start warning the public. DEMA is also responsible for maintaining the warning system for industries that use or produce hazardous material. Both the police and DEMA have their own classified instructions. The sound of sirens means that citizens should go inside, close their windows and doors, and switch on local TV and/or radio. There is no information on the fail frequency or the coverage of the warning system. The outdoor warning system is used only to warn the public. Municipalities are responsible for taking vulnerable groups into consideration when warning the public. 15

16 3.2.2 Estonia In Estonia, the early warning system is currently under development, but some components already exist. It is considered to be a complex system of different technical systems/networks and agreements for cooperation. The components that are available today are weather broadcasting and a specific data management system to warn citizens and alarm blue light units. Radiation detection network and road condition observation services are also operational. Sirens are considered to be one of the next steps in building a multifunctional early warning capability. The Estonian capital Tallinn is planning to install a siren system for alarm purposes. The mentioned project is still under consideration although the sirens are present. The main problem is to make the sirens produce a sound that is clearly understandable to the public and that avoids any unnecessary negative psychological effects. The same type of siren is at the moment in use in the city of Haapsalu, with no connection to the Tallinn project. Sirens are used in any type of emergency natural or man-made. The development of the warning system is going on in parallel both in the municipalities and at the national level (Ministry of the Interior and the Estonian Rescue Board). There are some ideas about using new technologies in the warning. These are connected to the SMS system which it is possible to implement only in a strictly limited area. Questions remain, for example about people who get the message later what are their reactions. Furthermore, instructing the public in a case of an emergency is also a task for the future. There are industries, which use or produce hazardous materials in Estonia, but they do not have an obligation to maintain a warning system for the public. There are bilateral agreement sanctions with Finland, Sweden and Latvia regarding the warning of the public in a transnational context Finland In Finland, the warning system is based on the outdoor warning system and on the RDScontrolled news flashes on the radio. Also text TV is used. There are about 1,500 outdoor alarms, which cover cities and population centres. Scattered settlement areas have plans of using speaker cars. The outdoor alarms are switched on either from emergency centres, by local activation at the fire stations, or from the wartime command and control rooms. The control system of the alarms was renewed along with the Virve (new TETRA-based radio network project) and emergency centre projects by 2006 (Workshop 2000). The outdoor siren system covers more than 80% of the population. Using the siren system with the radio broadcasting system makes it possible to warn a lot of people at the same time. The RDS system is nationwide and its coverage is 90 %. During peacetime, a local rescue authority or the emergency centre is authorized to decide when to start warning the public. During wartime, the start-up is made from the wartime command and control rooms or from the emergency centres. The industrial plants using hazardous material have warning systems of their own, which they are obliged to maintain. In a case of an emergency, the plant makes its own decisions on starting the warning, as do the nuclear power stations. In a nuclear accident, the actions are based on delegated cooperation. Depending on the extent of the accident, the 16

17 actions are started by a local rescue authority, a government authority or a rescue authority of the Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry of the Interior s rescue department gives out general orders regarding voice signals and the technical implementation of the warning system. The order for the voice signals to warn the public was given in Local communities take care of local implementation and functioning. Control systems are carried out in cooperation with emergency centres and local authorities. The instructions on what to do in case of an emergency are given to the citizens in phone directories and locally published security guides. Instructions were given in the 1980 s to test the functioning of the emergency system every Monday at noon, but the practice varies locally. In any case, testing is regular. Until the end of 2001, the all clear -signal could be used to alert rescue forces. By that date there had been plans to develop a modern alarm system for rescue operations, as the outdoor alarms were only for warning people in wartime. The order of warning the public by voice signals was renewed in 1999 because there was a contradiction between peacetime and wartime signals: same signals were used with a different meaning in peacetime and wartime. In Finland, both the authority radio network and the emergency centres have recently undergone a renewal process that affected the warning system and renewed especially to the control systems. Regarding the use of modern technologies, a nationwide RDS system is in use. Using the Internet has not been planned yet. The system of sending alert messages to the public via television and radio has existed in its current form for about a decade, but it has been used only four times: in 2001 due to a fire that caused poisonous gas, in 2002 due to an ammonia leak, and twice in 2005: during the siege of a dangerous person and due to a gas leak. The use of SMS in emergency communications is in process. On the 6 th of October 2005, the Finnish Government issued a bill to the Parliament on amending the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Electronic Communications, which would allow the authorities to issue emergency alerts to the public by text messages. An alert message could be sent to mobile phones located in a specific region in, for example, cases of poisonous fallout or a natural disaster. So far such alerts have been broadcast via radio and television. The Act is meant to enter into force on 1 April The main contents of the bill are the following: - Available measures for ensuring that the method is used appropriately are presented. - An alert message could be sent by the order of the rescue, police or frontier authorities, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, or the Meteorological Institute. - A decision on other targeted communication from the authorities would be under the responsibility of the competent ministry. The authority making the decision would reimburse the operators for the incurred expenses. - Telecom operators would be obliged to transmit an alert without delay. The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority would determine specifics for the time delay allowed, taking into consideration the technological and operational limits. 17

18 Although SMS emergency communication is possible already today, it is fairly slow, as there is no regional automatic delivery system for mass text messaging. The authorities and telecom operators will solve the questions related to the possible system reform later. So far the Finnish authorities have used SMS messaging once, which was after the tsunami disaster during Christmas 2004, when messages were sent to Finnish mobile phone subscriptions in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. In the future, the new possibilities offered by the digital television will also be studied. There are no particular plans on how to take into special account vulnerable groups like people with hearing or sight disabilities, or tourists Germany During the Cold War, a siren system was installed all over West Germany. However, after the fall of the Berlin wall and the unification of Germany, this system was shut down at the national level. Currently, there are some areas that have siren systems for special tasks, for example Hamburg. In Hamburg the siren system is mainly an early warning system for storm floods. Since several years there have been efforts to develop an early warning system to cover the whole country, but these efforts have not yet led to a working system Latvia In case of emergencies, the Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service under the Ministry of the Interior warns and informs the population via the Public Warning and Information System. The System s capacities are the following: to turn on electric sirens, and to transmit the civil protection signals and other relevant information to the contact persons on duty who are responsible for receiving signals in the regions and municipalities. Currently, the State Public Warning and Information System allows switching on 59 centrally operated sirens within the territory of Latvia. The bulk of the sirens are located in the cities and municipal centres. In addition, the warning system has about 20 locally operated sirens mostly in rural areas, but also in Daugavpils, Ventspils, Riga and in some small cities. There are responsible persons designated to launch the sirens. The Public Warning System can be started from the main Emergency Response Centre of State Fire and Rescue Service in the necessary configuration, depending on the emergency situation. As reserve, the Public Warning System can be started from the mobile command centre of SFRS. The authority that is authorized to start warning the citizens is the Chief of State Fire and Rescue Service. There is only one type of sound signal, a warbling tone meaning Attention! Listen to the radio or television and follow the official information and instructions. In case of an emergency, after receiving the signal Attention!, the population of Latvia will be informed via all transmitters of the 1 st National Radio and TV Channels and commercial broadcasting companies. For this purpose there are agreements with all these mass media. The outdoor warning system is used only to warn the citizens. Twice a year there is a real testing of the siren system and information to the population via radio and TV. In addition, each industry is responsible for providing an early warning system. 18

19 3.2.6 Lithuania In case of an emergency, the Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior warns and informs the population via the Public Warning and Information System. The System s capacities are the following: to turn on electric sirens, and to transmit the civil protection signals and other relevant information to the contact persons on duty who are responsible for receiving signals in regions and municipalities. Currently, the State Public Warning and Information System allows switching on 550 centrally operated sirens (to cover 50 % of the population) within the territory of Lithuania. The bulk of the sirens are located in the cities and municipal centres, and in villages with more than 100 inhabitants in the districts of Ignalina and Zarasai. In addition, the warning system has 560 locally operated sirens for warning, which cover about 12% of the population. The locally operated sirens are located mostly in rural areas. There are responsible persons designated to launch the sirens. The Public Warning System can be started from the Fire and Rescue Services in municipalities in case of a local emergency. In case of a regional emergency, the system can be started from the County Civil Protection Departments, or from the Fire and Rescue Department in case of a national emergency. The authorities that are authorized to start warning the citizens are: - At the state level: the Director of the Fire Protection and Rescue Department - At the regional level: the County Governor - At the municipal level: the Mayor. There is only one type of sound signal: 3 minutes of warbling tone meaning Attention! Listen to the radio or television and follow the official information and instructions. In case of an emergency after receiving the signal Attention!, the population of Lithuania will be informed via all transmitters of the 1 st and 2 nd National Radio Channels and local radio stations, as well as commercial broadcasting companies, which have to retransmit National Radio Channels One or Two. For this purpose there is a direct leased line to the National Radio and Television. In case of an emergency at the Ignalina NPP, there is a possibility of switching on the transmitters of the 1 st and 2 nd National Radio Channels located in Visaginas (5 km from the NPP) and directly informing the population within a 30 km zone around the NPP. The outdoor warning system is used only for warning the citizens. The checking of the functioning of the system is done once a day for the Regional Public Warning System within the 30 km area around Ignalina NPP. The checking is performed once a month for the local PWS in the municipalities, after technical maintenance. Twice a year (in spring and autumn) there is a real testing of the siren system and information to the population via Radio and TV. There are some considerations on how to use new technologies (like SMS, Internet) to warn the public, but no concrete plans. However, there is a plan to start the modernization of the Public Warning System in The actual implementation of the project is planned for Industries that use or produce hazardous materials have an obligation of maintaining a warning system (external or internal). The following authorities have the responsibility for maintaining the warning system: - At the state level: the Fire Protection and Rescue Department; 19

20 - At the regional level: the Civil Protection Departments under the County Governors and County Fire Protection Services (FPS); - At the municipal level: directors of the municipal administrations and the FPS of the municipalities. The national orders, instructions and recommendations regarding the warning of the public are included in the following documents: - The Civil Protection Law, The Government Decree On Information of the Population via Radio and TV in Cases of Emergencies - The Government Decree On testing the PWS, The Government Decree On the Development of the Civil Protection and Rescue System, There are no special technical tools for informing or warning especially vulnerable groups like people with sight or hearing disabilities. This problem has been assigned to the consideration of the municipal officials. There has not been any case where the public has been warned in a transnational context, as there are no available technical tools to do this. In case of a trans-boundary emergency, the appropriate international points of contact will be informed Norway The system for warning and alerting the public is built on pneumatic sirens. There are three different systems for controlling the sirens: 1. Lines with local commands and signal release points, 2. VHF radio system with a control receiver on each site covering mainly the south of Norway, 3. RDS radio system with a control receiver on each site covering the middle and northern parts of Norway. In connection with the use of the signal important announcement listen to the radio, there will be a message read over the radio and instructions given over text TV. The same system will be used for nuclear fallout warning and other accidents and disasters. The signal can be started with radio signals, either VHF (DTMF) or with a coded RDS. The launching can be done for the entire country by RDS signal (not fully developed yet), or by the VHF system that sends an order to local authorities to launch a specific signal. Signals can also be launched locally with both systems if there is any reason for informing or alerting the public. The Civil Defence organisation is responsible for maintaining the warning system. The Directorate for Civil Defence and Emergency Planning is responsible for developing the system and there is no cooperation or consultation with the fire brigades in this (Workshop 2000). Previously, the warning system had a theoretical coverage of 80 % in built-up areas. In rural areas the coverage was about 2 %, and the overall coverage was estimated to be 60 %. In 1995, the total number of sirens was reduced from 2,000 to 1,200. Consequently, the coverage has since then been about 45 %. 20

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