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False alarm: accidental triggering of public warning siren confuses Stockholmers

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False alarm: accidental triggering of public warning siren confuses Stockholmers
‘Hessa Fredrik' (left) is supposed to warn the Swedish public of danger. Photo: Daniel Zdolsek & Henrik Montgomery/TT
07:59 CEST+02:00
Stockholm residents were given an unpleasant surprise on Sunday night when the country's public warning siren was accidentally triggered, leaving people scrambling for information.

'Hoarse Fredrik', a loud siren system designed to inform the public of an emergency like a fire, explosion or even war, went off throughout Stockholm County (Stockholms län) at around 10pm on July 9th.

But there was no emergency and it was all down to a technical error during a test, authorities have explained.

"It wasn't intended. A system test was made in connection with an upgrade and we sent out a signal," Stockholm Emergency Services HQ operations chief Åke Steveling explained to news agency TT.

Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and other authorities were inundated with phone calls following the false alarm as Stockholmers attempted to find out what was happening. The Swedish police website was also overloaded with traffic.

All for nothing, Steveling insisted: “There's no danger”.

Normally, live tests of the system where the horn audibly sounds only occur on the first Monday of March, June, September and December at 3pm sharp. If it is heard at any other time, it is supposed to be a warning of danger to the public.

READ ALSO: More about the history of ‘Hoarse Fredrik'

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