With a blunder, but finally the first steps of a national system for publicizing the population in Bulgaria begin

Climate / Ecology
3E news
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Raya Lecheva

Although I started with a technical error, for the first time in our country they are testing a unified national system for publicizing the population. It was clear early on that there was a communication problem because the population testing information should have been available much earlier and the technical error would not have made such an impression. But news of the technical gaffe spread so quickly that Syscode, the system integrator responsible for the messages sent through the new BG-ALERT system, had to apologize for the inconvenience caused. And at the same time, to block the site because of the unprecedented interest of people to find out what is happening. This system seems like a miracle after waiting for it for more than a decade and many casualties could have been avoided until now as they would have been warned about the danger of flooding.

This is a national early warning system BG-ALERT, which has been actively worked on since the end of last year and is the responsibility of the General Directorate "Fire Safety and Protection of the Population".

Similar systems operate in almost all European countries, experts commented to 3eNews. In countries around the world where disasters are more common, there are systems to notify the population by telephone, for example in Hawaii and Asia. In Germany, a publicizing project is also being implemented through public transport and subway information boards.

The blunder made it necessary to announce the official dates for the tests, which were previously sent only to state structures and enterprises, 3eNews learned.

The tests of the BG-ALERT system for the distribution of messages to warn the population about emergency situations and disasters will start from November 7 to November 29, according to the website of the BG-ALERT system.

The tests aim to verify the functioning of the system, as well as to give the population an idea of the messages on mobile devices.

They will start from November 7 in the Gabrovo region. On November 14, people from the districts of Vidin, Vratsa, Lovech, Montana and Pleven will receive messages; on November 15 - Veliko Tarnovo, Razgrad, Ruse and Silistra; on November 16 - Varna, Dobrich, Targovishte and Shumen; on November 21 - Burgas, Sliven, Stara Zagora and Yambol; on November 22 - Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia and Sofia region; on November 23 - Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan and Haskovo.

It is planned to hold a national test in the country on November 29. Then, for half an hour - from 12:00 to 12:30, a message containing text in Bulgarian and English will be broadcast.

The receipt of the message on the mobile device is expected to be one-time and accompanied by a specific sound and vibration, even with silent mode enabled.

Together with the Bulgarian contractors, the state works with Google and Apple from the point of view that a large part of the smartphones have their operating systems. There will be a broad information campaign and an internet site will be developed, the General Directorate of Fire Safety and Protection of the Population commented in the middle of the year.

It is important that the message does not contain specific topics and disasters in order not to stress people, imagine for example receiving test: an earthquake, experts say. Therefore, rather, the messages at the moment will be with a digital code, so as not to cause panic.

But an information campaign will be necessary, so that there are no more such surprises that can lead to serious chaos.

"Actually, the colleague pressed the wrong button, which is for real cells for the mobile network of the mobile operator, and not those that are for testing purposes. This is how the notification error occurred." This was explained to bTV by the owner of the system integrator DZZD "Siscod", responsible for the messages sent through the BG-ALERT system, Nikolay Simeonov.

According to Simeonov, the responsible official will be punished with an administrative sanction. He pointed out that immediately after the mistake was made, the operation was stopped.

"Because of this, the message has not fully reached all users of the mobile operator," he emphasized. The guilty employee explained that he made the mistake due to accumulated fatigue and carelessness.

At the meeting, the Ministry of the Interior discussed the plan for national testing, which begins on November 7 and continues until November 29. According to Simeonov, a whole team is involved in the testing, but only one person is to blame for the mistake.

"I don't know if the Ministry of the Interior will investigate, but we in our company have drawn our conclusions," he pointed out.

"The message that came out from the president has nothing to do with the institution. It is a message sent according to such a standard that comes from the USA," emphasized Nikolay Simeonov. He specified that on older models of telephones the message comes out that it is from the president, and on newer models it comes out as "attention".

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