Here are the most common questions regarding the new mobile-based public warning system S!RENEN.
- About S!RENEN in general
- Technical background
- Security and privacy
- Children and S!RENEN
- National test Wednesday May 3rd at 12pm
What is S!RENEN?
S!RENEN is Denmark’s mobile-based public warning system. It means that you can now receive a warning directly on your mobile phone if you are located in an area where many people are exposed to acute danger.
Is it an app? Do I need to download anything or sign up to receive S!RENEN alerts?
No. S!RENEN works on most recent mobile phones. S!RENEN works across all mobile phone companies and subscriptions. You don’t need to download anything or sign up, but you do need to make sure your phone’s operating system is updated.
Does S!RENEN replace the physical warning sirens and emergency notifications?
No. S!RENEN is designed to supplement the existing alert channels. The authorities use various channels to alert the population. Examples of the other channels include the physical warning sirens and emergency notifications broadcast on the DR and TV 2 platforms.
Are S!RENEN alerts better than the physical warning sirens?
A warning siren can only have one meaning: go inside and look for information on DR or TV 2. With S!RENEN, the authorities can tell people in the danger zone what to do in precise and concrete terms. There are a lot more cell phone masts than warning sirens in Denmark. That means S!RENEN alerts can reach more people while simultaneously being targeted more precisely.
Who is responsible for alerting the population to accidents, crises and disasters?
It is currently the responsibility of the police to alert the population to accidents, crises and disasters. And it is the police that will broadcast S!RENEN alerts.
What alerts does S!RENEN broadcast? / When can S!RENEN be used? / How serious does a crisis have to be before I receive a S!RENEN alert?
An alert is broadcast through S!RENEN in acute, life-threatening situations affecting a large number of people. The criteria that must be met are the same as when the police broadcast emergency notifications and activate the physical alert sirens.
Why did you choose the name S!RENEN? Couldn’t it be confused with the physical alert sirens?
The name S!RENEN was chosen for several reasons. It’s a recognisable word, it’s short and easy to decode quickly, and it conveys a sense of seriousness. Finally, the name is based on the experience itself – a loud and intense sound when there is danger.
What if I get a warning via S!RENEN while driving a car or riding a bike?
Pull over where you can do so legally and safely. Only then can you read the warning. You must always follow the traffic regulations, so you cannot read warnings via S!RENEN while driving or riding a bike.
Which authorities are involved in the project?
The project was initiated by and is the responsibility of the Danish Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of Justice and the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, and their constituent agencies. The Danish Ministry of Defence is funding the project. The project involves cooperation with many different authorities and private actors, including in particular the telecom operators which will handle important parts of the technical set-up.
I have received at test-/exercise message from S!RENEN not during the national test. Can they be switched off?
We are regularly testing S!RENEN to ensure the system is working. These tests and exercises are done on a separate test channel. You should not receive these, but you can switch them om/off in your OS. Regardless the setting you will receive warning, if you are in a warning area, where the police warn, or during the national test. For the time being the settings for ”Dangerous incident” and ”Serious incident” have no consequence.
Will warnings via S!RENEN only be received by people who the warnings are relevant for?
Yes. If you are in an area affected by an emergency where the police are broadcasting a warning via S!RENEN, you will receive the warning. You need to have a recent phone with an updated operating system. Warning via S!RENEN are broadcast by the cell phone masts located in the affected area or by masts 'pointing' into the affected area. Phones that are connected to these masts will receive the warning. Phones outside the affected area will not recieve the warning. However, some phones located just outside the affected area may receive the warning.
How does S!RENEN work?
S!RENEN is based on cell broadcast technology. The authorities can use cell broadcast to send an alert directly to mobile devices in an area where there is danger. The alerts are sent over the telecom masts. You don’t have to do anything yourself to receive the signal.
Which mobile phones are able to receive warnings via S!RENEN?
All recent smartphones – including foreign phones – with an updated operating system are able to receive warnings via S!RENEN. The phone must be on 4G or 5G. See more under 'Check you phone'. Check if your mobile can receive S!RENEN here.
What happens if a warning is sent via S!RENEN when my phone is in airplane mode or turned off?
Some types of phones may act differently but in generel it is like this: If your phone is in airplane mode, you will not receive warnings via S!RENEN. However, you may receive the warning when airplane mode is deactivated. If your phone is in turned off for the entire period that the police is broadcasting the warning, you will not receive the warning. If you turn on your phone while the police is still broadcasting the warning, you will receive the warning.
I received a S!RENEN alert but my neighbour didn’t. What should we do?
Not all older mobile phones will be able to receive an alert via S!RENEN. Pass on the information to other people nearby if they need it. Check if your mobile phone can receive warnings from S!RENEN by clicking on the page "Check your phone" on the top of this page.
I have an older mobile phone. Will I be unable to receive alerts? I live in an area with poor mobile coverage. Will S!RENEN work here? / What if I can’t receive an alert through S!RENEN?
Older mobile phones may not have the technology to receive alerts from S!RENEN. To ensure that as many people as possible are warned of danger, the authorities will always issue notifications through various channels. S!RENEN is supplement to authorities warning systems. The new alert channel will not put anyone in a worse position.
If you don’t know who is receiving the alert, how do you know it has arrived?
We don’t. We only know that the alert has been broadcast from the telecom masts. The authorities have chosen to implement an alert system that does not collect data from mobile devices. However, the authorities are immediately informed by the mobile network operators if an error occurred during the broadcast.
Will I also receive S!RENEN alerts on other devices?
The system is really designed to work with mobile devices such as phones, tablets, etc. However, it is possible that other equipment will also receive the alerts in some cases. This depends on factors such as the WiFi connection, SIM cards, etc.
Is S!RENEN the same system as used in other countries of the EU?
The EU directive recommends two technologies: location-based SMS and cell broadcast. Some EU countries use cell broadcast, others use SMS-based alerts. In Denmark, cell broadcast was chosen because it offers certain advantages in terms of speed, security and personal data compared to other types of messages received on a mobile phone (e.g. SMS or push notifications).
Who is responsible for the technology behind S!RENEN?
The system behind S!RENEN consists of several parts. The system used by the authorities to broadcast alerts (the cell broadcast entity) is provided by an external vendor. The other parts were purchased by the Danish mobile network operators TDC Net, 3, Telia and Telenor, with government finance.
Can I recieve a warning via S!RENEN on 3G?
No. Your mobile device needs to be on 4G eller 5G in order to receive warnings via S!RENEN.
What happens if a warning is sent via S!RENEN when my phone is in silent / do not disturb mode?
Some types of phones may act differently but in generel it is like this: If your phone is in silent / do not disturb mode, you will receive warnings via S!RENEN. There will be sound on the warning.
Does S!RENEN sound continuously or can I switch it off it like a reminder / alarm clock?
S!RENEN sounds for 10-12 seconds. You can turn off the sound by touching the message on your screen or the on-off button on your phone.
Does the government get data about me and my mobile phone, or other units, through S!RENEN?
No. The authorities will not have access to citizens’ devices. The authorities can only broadcast alerts via the telephone masts and do not receive information back through S!RENEN. It’s like transmitting a radio signal over a certain area. The listener can hear it, but can’t “signal” back through the radio.
Can mobile operators broadcast messages to their customers through S!RENEN?
No. Only the authorities can send alerts through S!RENEN.
What is the risk of the system being hacked and threat actors sending out fake messages through S!RENEN?
Security is prioritised very highly in S!RENEN, and we are of course aware of everything going on in the cyber world.
If the mobile network crashes during an emergency – due to congestion or cyberattacks, etc. – will I still be able to receive S!RENEN alerts?
Security is prioritised very highly in S!RENEN, and we are of course aware of everything going on in the cyber world. Whatever happens, you will still be warned by the physical alert sirens and the emergency notifications broadcast on DR and TV 2.
Can I receive the warnings in my own language?
S!RENEN warnings are broadcast in Danish to mobile phones with Danish SIM cards and in English to mobile phones with foreign SIM cards.
What should I do if I receive an alert and I can’t understand what it says?
Ask for help from the people around you or from an organisation you trust. They can help you understand what you need to do. You can also turn on DR or TV 2.
Is the campaign material also available in languages other than Danish?
Yes. Information about S!RENEN is available in a number of foreign languages, just as we have material about the physical alert sirens in a number of foreign languages. In addition, sirenen.dk is available in English and the information videos about S!RENEN are sign-language interpreted.
How should I prepare my kids to respond if S!RENEN sounds on their phone?
Consider talking to your kids about S!RENEN and emergency alerts in Denmark when you get the opportunity. Remember that S!RENEN alerts are only broadcast when there is an acute, life-threatening crisis or disaster affecting a large number of people, and fortunately this is very rare in Denmark. Many will most likely only experience S!RENEN when the annual test of the alert channels takes place on the first Wednesday in May. Even so, it is important to know about the system.
Will my children receive alerts via S!RENEN on their phone or other devices?
Yes, if they are in a danger zone and they have a newer mobile phone that is updated.
What do I do if S!RENEN sounds when my children are in day care, at school or doing another activity?
S!RENEN alerts are geographically limited to the specific danger zone. This means that an alert on your phone may not apply to where your children are. If you receive a S!RENEN alert, you should stop what you are doing, read what the alert says, and follow the instructions. Children under the responsibility of adults other than their parents should follow the instructions of those adults.
Will the school or day care centre know what to do?
As part of the implementation of S!RENEN, the Danish Emergency Management Agency and the National Police provided information to many different stakeholders including the Danish Ministry of Education, the National Association of Municipalities and the municipalities themselves.
What should I do if I can’t get hold of my child when S!RENEN sounds?
If you have received the alert on your mobile, you should follow the instructions. Then check if the danger zone (which is shown in the alert) includes your child’s location. If necessary, contact your child – preferably via social media or SMS text message, as large numbers of voice calls in crisis situations can overload the network. Only call 1-1-2 if you or others are in imminent danger and need the police, ambulance or fire services.
What should my kids do if they are home alone when S!RENEN sounds?
First of all, they need to stop what they’re doing, read the information on their screen, and follow the instructions. In short: Stop. Read. React. If they are unsure they can contact their parents – preferably via social media or SMS text message, as large numbers of voice calls in crisis situations can overload the network.
On May 3rd public schools in Denmark has written exams in math for 9th graders. How should pupils and schools handle the test during the exams?
Recent phones with updated OS will receive a test alert via S!RENEN wednesday May 3rd at noon. The alert will be with sound and vibration - also if the sound is muted or it is in DND mode. The sound and vibration lasts approx. 12 seconds, but you can stop the sound by touching the warning on the screen or clicking the on-off button on your phone. If the phone is turned off, it will not receive a test alert and will not sound. DEMA has reached out to Ministry of Children and Education. They sent out a newsletter on April 17th stressing the importance of clear guidelines for phones in the exam room so the exam is not disturbed more than necessary.
Can I forward the warning to friends or relatives who can help me?
The system doesn't allow forwarding the warning. You can take a screenshot of the warning and send it to people who can help you.
I am signed up for deaf SMS warning. Will I still receive those warnings it?
S!RENEN is a supplement to the other warning systems. Other warning systems, such as deaf SMS warning, will still be active after the implementation of S!RENEN.
What should I do if I don't receive the test alert?
If you didn't receive the test alert even though your phone was on, it may have to do with you phone/operating system. See more at 'Check you phone' here on sirenen.dk. From Wednesday May 3rd at 12pm you can access a short survey about the test from the front page of sirenen.dk. The survey is in Danish. You can help us by answering the five questions in the survey.
Is the sound on during the test?
Yes, S!RENEN is tested with the sound on. It is a relatively loud and distinct sound that lasts for about 10 second. S!RENEN will sound even if your phone is in silent mode. You can turn off your phone during the test, if you want to escape the sound.
Do I need to take action during the test?
You don't need to do anything during the test. The test warning is sent so you know how it looks and sounds if one day there is a real emergency. Only call 1-1-2 if you or others near you are in danger and need police, fire services or an ambulance.
What have you done to make sure people don't get worried when they receive the test alert?
The Danish Emergency Management Agency and the National Police have made a big effort to inform about the test. We launched a campaign with information online, on TV and outdoor commercials. We have reached out to authorities and organizations - including organizations for the disabled, the elderly, refugees and parents. Information about the test has been translated into several languages and we have spoken to as many media outlets as possible.
What will the text of the test alert be?
TEST - S!RENEN – TEST Beredskabsstyrelsen og Rigspolitiet tester lige nu S!RENEN, Danmarks nye varslingssystem. I en akut situation fortæller S!RENEN dig, hvad der sker, hvor det sker, og hvad du skal gøre. Dette er en test. Du skal ikke foretage dig noget. Se mere på sirenen_dk // Right now the Danish Emergency Management Agency and the Danish National Police are testing S!RENEN, Denmark's new warning system. In case of an emergency, S!RENEN tells you what is going on, where it is, and what you should do. Today is a test. You don't need to take any action. See more at sirenen_dk/en
Can I opt out from the test warning?
No, it is not possible to opt out from the test warning Wednesday May 3rd at 12pm. If you do not want to receive the test warned, you are advised to turn off your phone before 12pm and turn it on again e.g. at 12.30pm.
Will I recieve the test warning via S!RENEN if my phone is in silent / do not disturb / airplane mode or switched off?
Some types of phones may act differently but in generel it is like this: If your phone is in silent / do not disturb mode, you will receive the test warning via S!RENEN. The warning is with sound. If your phone is in airplane mode or switched off, you will not receive the test warning. If you do not want to receive the test warning, wait until 12.15pm before turning your phone on again.
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