How FR-Alert, the mobile emergency service works

The government has just launched FR-Alert, an emergency information system for major incidents. In the event of an attack, accident or dangerous weather phenomenon, the State can warn the local population by sending a notification to all smartphones in a given area.

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Finally, France is equipping itself with a population alert and information system. It was an obligation for all EU states following the European directive of December 11, 2018. It has been operational since June 21, 2022, the deadline set by the directive.

During a major incident, EN-Alert will warn anyone in a dangerous area via a notification on his smartphone. This will be accompanied by a specific ringtone and a vibration, even if the device is in silent mode. The notification will contain the type of incident, its exact location, and the origin of the alert. It will also indicate the attitude to adopt (stay at home or evacuate), and possibly a link for further information.

A system already integrated into smartphones

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FR-Alert will be used to warn the population of natural events (flood, stormfire, etc.), biological and chemical accidents (pollution, leakage of gas, nuclear incident…), health hazards (epidemic…), technological and industrial incidents (serious accidents on road, rail or air networks, industrial incident…) or even serious public security events, such as a terrorist attack.

The system uses the diffusion cellular, or cell broadcastwhich allows the message to be broadcast simultaneously to all smartphones near the relay antennas selected. However, it requires a 4G or 5G compatible mobile. For other devices, the government will launch “ later» a service of SMS geolocated. With this second solution, the relay antenna sends an SMS to each connected device, a much longer operation. In both cases, the system works without requiring registration, without installing a application, and is directly functional on Android devices. Users ofiPhone will however have to validate a request to update the settings of the operator.

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