What is a Public Warning System?

Definition: A Public Warning System (PWS) is a comprehensive network of communication tools and protocols with the main objective of alerting and informing the general public about imminent threats or emergencies. Its primary purpose is to rapidly and effectively disseminate crucial information, ensuring public safety and empowering individuals to take necessary actions in the face of potential danger.


Public Warning Systems explained

The primary goal of public warning systems is to promptly alert and inform all citizens facing potential danger, enabling them to prepare and respond swiftly to mitigate the impact of the threat. To achieve this objective, public warning systems must not only alert the targeted population but also deliver comprehensive and understandable information. 

The effectiveness of public warning systems in accomplishing this mission relies heavily on the communication channels employed, as each system has varying capabilities to meet diverse public warning requirements. Utilizing a range of communication methods is essential to reach the maximum number of people at risk effectively.

The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) Article 110 requires all EU countries to operate a public warning system that is capable of sending geo-targeted emergency notifications to all mobile phone users in the affected area during a natural or man-made disaster. In order to incorporate new information and communication technologies, this legislation defines the concept of "emergency communications," which replaces "emergency calls." 

A Public Warning System may encompass the following categories of emergencies or threats:

  • Natural disasters: Earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and tsunamis
  • Public health emergencies: Pandemics and outbreaks of infectious disease
  • Terrorism: Bomb threats and shootings
  • Industrial accidents: Explosions, harmful chemical spills, and structural failures
  • Civil emergencies: Evacuation orders, and civil unrest

The core functionality of purpose-built mass notification systems revolves around their capacity to deliver public warnings. These systems are meticulously designed to rapidly and securely reach the maximum number of affected individuals, ensuring swift dissemination of critical information.

Public Warning Systems are developed and utilized to protect, alert, and inform individuals by delivering emergency communication to the right people precisely when it is needed.

Utimaco provides a public warning suite of products that cater to governments, enterprises, and other entities.

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