The Norwegian Government wants to strengthen civil emergency preparedness

The Norwegian Government is following up its political platform regarding increasing emergency preparedness. The situation in Ukraine has intensified tensions and created uncertainty, making it necessary to implement civil measures quickly. Today the Norwegian Government has therefore proposed a number of substantial measures, including establishing a public warning service using the mobile network and strengthening the Civil Defence.

‘We want to have a mobile phone-based public warning service to quickly send information to large parts of the population. This will save lives, health, and protect property in the event of a serious incident,’ says Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl. Plans are for the mobile public warning service to be operational by the end of 2022.

Important improvement

During crises, time is a critical factor. The Norwegian Government therefore proposes granting funds to establish a public warning service using Cell Broadcast technology.

‘This will allow specific alerts of danger to be sent to all mobile phone users nationwide in a matter of seconds using the mobile phone network. Such a system will increase people’s own preparedness and will be an important improvement to civil protection’, says Ms Mehl.

The technology will ensure that important messages are broadcast to mobile phones on the three mobile networks in Norway quickly.

‘The mobile network operators Ice, Telenor, and Telia will establish a Cell Broadcast system in their networks. We are in close dialogue with the operators about the importance of their efforts to establish such a system in Norway,’ states Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Bjørn Arild Gram.

Immediate notification

The Cell Broadcast system is technology that sends immediate alerts to the public using the mobile networks. Alerts sent using this system will be received by all mobile phones that are switched on in a defined area and have a unique loud ringtone and text, regardless of the phone’s sound settings. The system can be used locally, regionally, and nationally, and reach the whole country in less than 30 seconds.

Civil Defence

The Norwegian Government is also proposing increasing the operational capacity of the Civil Defence through a grant of a further NOK 41 million in 2022.

‘The grant will allow the Civil Defence to conduct more exercises for its force, and bring the target of 8 000 people serving with the Civil Defence back within reach,’ says Ms Mehl.

A grant of NOK 48.8 million is also proposed to remedy the shortage of materiel in the Civil Defence and to invest in new modern equipment.

‘By making this grant to strengthen the Civil Defence, I am pleased to say that we are both addressing the most critical shortage of materiel, replacing materiel with more modern equipment, and allowing the Civil Defence to increase its exercise activities. This is important to increase the overall operational capacity of the Civil Defence,’ states Ms Mehl.