Sweden to pass text alert law to aid emergencies

The Swedish government is set to rush through legislation to enable mobile phone users to receive texts warning about emergency situations after recent trials proved successful.

Sweden to pass text alert law to aid emergencies
File photo: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

The system was used during the recent Västmanland forest fire crisis. On that occasion 74 mobile phone users in a region where the fire was raging got an sms informing them that water bombing would soon begin. 

"Everything worked fine although our technicians had to do it manually,"Anders Klarström of SOS alarm told Sveriges Television.

Now the system is to be rolled out in September when the government pushes through the new law. The service will at first be limited to landlines and later extended to mobile phones.

However, the system has a drawback as only registered mobile phone users in an affected area will get the texts, as opposed to all mobiles which are switched on.

Sweden's minister for defence Karin Enström said experts were investigating how to rectify this issue so everybody can receive the warning messages.

The service will complement existing warnings broadcast on radio and television.

In America a similar system called the AMBER alert has been used successfully to help find missing children. The system has since been exported to several European countries.  

The Local/pr

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