Germany to test its emergency warning system on Thursday

The common reporting and situation center in Bonn-Lengsdorf is Germany's hub for about 20 national and international warning and reporting procedures. Germany will be conducting the first national test of its emergency warning system since 1990 on Thurs., Sept. 10, 2020.


By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 8, 2020

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Sirens will blare across Germany at 11 a.m. Thursday as the country tests its national emergency warning system for the first time since 1990.

The nationwide exercise is being held “to sensitize the people but also to test the functioning of the system,” municipal authorities in Kaiserslautern said in a statement.

Kaiserslautern will serve as the hub for the test in the western part of Rheinland-Pfalz. The area around the city, and Kaiserslautern itself, are home to one of the largest American military communities outside of the United States.

It was unclear if broadcasts would be altered or the text message emergency system would be activated during the siren test on Thursday. In a real emergency, TV networks and radio stations would interrupt regular programming and provide people with instructions on what action to take, and text messages would be sent out to anyone who has registered to receive them via the KATWARN or NINA warning systems, the statement said.

The sirens are part of a warning network known as the Modularen Warnsystem, or MoWaS, which connects emergency services on the federal, state and district levels. It is the rough equivalent of the U.S. National Warning System, whose original purpose was to warn of imminent enemy attacks but which is now focused on natural and other disasters.

More information about Thursday’s test, as well as audio examples of what the sirens sound like when they’re indicating an emergency or giving the all-clear, is available on the website warnung-der-bevoelkerung.de. The warnings are transmitted by satellite and would function even if a power outage were to occur during an emergency, the website says.


For the first time since 1990, Germany is conducting a nationwide test of emergency sirens and other warning notification systems on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Kaiserslautern, home to one of the largest overseas U.S. military communities, will be the hub for the tests in the western part of Rheinland-Pfalz.

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