Civil Protection in Austria

Warning and Alarms

Siren control at the Federal Alarm Center
Siren control at the Federal Alarm Center © Friedrich
Rumpold, MOI

Civil Protection Alarm

A central concern of Civil Protection and Disaster Management is the rapid transmission of a warning and alarm to the public in disasters or crises.
Austria holds a well-developed warning and alarm system that is operated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior jointly with the offices of the provincial governments. Thus Austria is one of the few countries that have a nationwide siren warning system. At the present time, the warning and alarm signals (51,1 KB)  can be emitted by over 8,000 fire brigade sirens. In Vienna in recent years, 165 civil protection sirens have been installed. Depending on the emergency, the signals can be activated centrally by the Federal Alarm Center at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the provincial alarm centers of the federal provinces, or the district alarm centers.

Every first Saturday in October, between 12 noon and 1 p.m., a civil protection alarm is tested throughout Austria. The purpose of the test alarm is to check the technical installations of the warning and alarm system, and to familiarize the public with the civil protection signals.

Radiation Early Warning System
Radiation Early Warning System © Friedrich Rumpold, BMI

Radiation Early Warning System

In order to quickly detect large-scale radioactive contamination Austria provides for a Radiation Early Warning System operated by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management  (BMLFUW). With 330 measuring points and an average distance of 15 kilometers between the measuring points, good monitoring is achieved. Areas of high population density are equipped to a much greater degree. In order to better observe border regions in the prevailing wind direction of foreign nuclear power plants, 10 automatic air monitors have been installed, which are intended to identify radioactive materials on ground-level.

The dose rate data is transferred 24/7 via a data transmission network to the relevant provincial office and to the Federal Radiation Alarm Center of the BMLFUW, which is in charge of the monitoring of the environment for radioactive contamination. The Federal Alarm Center at the Federal Ministry of the Interior is likewise connected to this data transmission network, so that the individual measurement results are readable there at all times.

The measurement data from the radiation early warning system is also readable via the Teletext of the Austrian Broadcasting Cooperation (ORF)  (see p. 623) as well as the Homepage of the BMLFUW.