The free app can be downloaded on Apple App Store and Google Play in three languages. The Luxemburgish version is still being developed. The app allows emergency services 112 and crisis communication services of the Ministry of State to send out warnings in the event of major national emergencies, like severe flooding, nuclear incidents, fires or very serious accidents. Possible disruptions of the energy network or problems with the drinking water supply can also be communicated through the app.
In the case of important incidents that are limited to specific local regions, the grand-ducal emergency services (CGDIS) can define zones of hazard and send warnings only to the people currently situated in theses zones, or to people entering and leaving the zones. In addition to the push messages sent through the app, a collaboration with the national network providers allows emergency services to send SMS to every person located on the Luxembourgish territory at that moment to coordinate a possible evacuation of the country or certain regions.
Geo-locating individuals in distress
Communication through the app is two-way: In cases of emergency, users can contact emergency services 112 directly though the GouvAlert.lu app. This way, the call can automatically be traced back to a precise location by rescue services, so that they can intervene more rapidly and effectively, even if the person in distress doesn't know exactly where he or she is. Moreover, the app includes a guide on how to behave in different emergency or crisis situations. It also allows access to the governments plans for emergency interventions.
This smartphone app, developed in the last two years by the Government IT Centre 'Centre des technologies de l’information de l’État' (CTIE), is a rapid and effective tool to warn citizens, even if they don't always have access to a classical information source. The emergency services will naturally also continue to spread information through their other channels like Twitter or Facebook.
(Article written by the editorial team of the portal of 'www.luxembourg.lu'.)