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Government Success Reliant on Effective Public Warning Systems for all Critical Events

Governments and authorities are working harder than ever to protect their nation and keep their citizens safe from crises, ranging from natural disasters to terrorist threats to global pandemics.

One step that has proved invaluable to help avert crisis is to have an effective public warning system in place. To be effective, public warning systems need to involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of the risks, disseminate alerts and warnings, and ensure there is a constant state of preparedness.

The public warning system should comprise of a robust multi-channel communication strategy, a critical event management plan and the supporting technology and software to execute the strategy and plan.

Public warning systems – Crucial safety feature for countries endangered by natural disasters

Natural disasters are on the rise, one more catastrophic than the next. The goal for governments and authorities is to protect their country and people before, during and after these critical events.

These warnings cannot be effective if people do not buy into them, therefore warnings from authorities need to be timely and need to be accurate. The authority’s ability to communicate with the public is paramount.


One government that has seen the value in deploying a public warning system as well as having a strong critical event management plan in place is the Government of Odisha in India. They experienced a deadly super cyclone in 1999, so when Super-cyclone Fani hit in May 2019, due to the government’s preparedness and planning, and the public warning system that had been put in place, crisis was averted.

Their evacuation plan could be classified as an early warning success story and quite an achievement for a poor state in India being able to move a million people to safety within a day or two. The public warning system was provided to the Odisha government by Everbridge, experts in critical event management and public warning systems.

Plan. Alert. Respond. Recover

Everbridge has been working with governments throughout the world and on various types of critical events. As of 2019 they have 3,662 clients in the public safety sector, and of those 3,612 are actively operating a public warning system with 467 of them using cell broadcast. Everbridge reported having sent 3.1 billion messages in 2019.

They advise that the industry best practice to public warning is to communicate. Communicate with all stakeholders, communicate across all stages of the incident, and communicate with the right people at the right time. Leverage local intelligence and maximise the effectiveness to the public warning system using mobile broadcast and location-based SMS.

Recently selected by Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications to power their emergency warning messaging system, they have also been deployed widely throughout Europe and are used nationwide in countries such as Iceland, Greece, The Netherlands and Sweden. Everbridge are active in states in India and are working closely with the governments in Singapore and Australia .


In Australia , the state and federal authorities have been working tirelessly to combat the fire crisis. a crisis that is present in every state and occurs regularly throughout the year.

In combination with Australia’s major telecommunications companies, the Everbridge Public Warning solution will be used to power Emergency Alert Australia, providing population-wide alerting to help reach the country’s over 25 million residents and approximately 9 million annual visitors.

Anyone in an area where a sudden, critical event occurs such as fire, extreme weather or a terror attack, residents and visitors to Australia will receive location-based SMS notifications on their mobile phones, in addition to smart phone mobile app notifications and fixed line voice alerts, among other modes of communication.

Everbridge Public Warning leverages existing telecom infrastructure, with no opt-in required, to reach everyone within a geographic area to reduce disaster risk, support first responder communications, and analyse disaster communication effectiveness for subsequent mitigation activities.

“Our Public Warning solution enables government organizations and public safety agencies to immediately connect with every person in an affected area during a critical event regardless of nationality, residency or mobile telephone handset type,” said Jaime Ellertson, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Everbridge.

“Australia has served as a model example for population-wide alerting and emergency preparedness over the past decade, and we are honoured to support them on the evolution of their national system.”

The Power of a Public Warning System during a Pandemic

Governments are currently dealing with different phases of the pandemic whether it is in lockdown, gradual exit or containment phase. It is worth noting the countries that are currently deploying a public warning system are now reporting fewer cases of COVID-19

The criticality of population alerting has never been more relevant than during the current outbreak of COVID-19.


The citizens of Norway, for example, received critical countrywide communications earlier this year during the onset of COVID-19. The Norwegian Directorate for Health sent a record 5.4 million messages to every mobile phone in Norway using Everbridge Public Warning.

Norway relies on its Directorate for Health to send critical messages to mobile phones before, during and after an emergency. With this platform, The Directorate for Health is able to reach Norway’s over five million residents and the country’s even larger number of approximately eight million annual visitors. The Directorate for Health also sent a message to all non-Norwegian phones roaming inside the country in English, French, German, Spanish, Polish and Russian, providing critical instructions for foreign nationals.

“Governments require the best of both options – the capability to deliver a massive number of messages very quickly as well as the ability to target precisely who receives alerts. Everbridge represents the only population alerting provider that eliminates these trade-offs and delivers optimised capabilities based on the needs of the use case in each country.” said Imad Mouline, Chief Technology Officer at Everbridge.

The Public Warning System combines cell-broadcast and address-, group-, and location-based, multi-channel technologies.

The hybrid platform enables countries to protect against coronavirus by sharing updates on COVID-19 hotspots, coordinating first responders and healthcare resources, establishing two-way communications with at-risk populations, and manage disruptions to transportation, education, and other critical services.

Given the impact to public safety and economies around the world from the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other potential disasters and crisis, every government can benefit from a modern and scalable platform to reach all citizens effectively and efficiently in times of crisis.


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