First Wednesday of May is Denmark's "Big Wailing Day", Source: Depositphotos

Denmark sends test alarm messages to its entire population’s mobile phones

Denmark sends test alarm messages to its entire population’s mobile phones

The first Wednesday of May has become known as Big Wailing Day, since this is when the country’s sirens are checked if they’re in working order

On the first Wednesday of May, since 1994, Danish citizens have gotten used to the somewhat disturbing sound of public sirens – so much so that, this date has become colloquially known as “Big Wailing Day”. The testing of these devices is necessary as part of the civic warning system to quickly inform of emergency events of national significance.

The alarm is played four times, each time lasting a total of 45 seconds. It issues an ominous wailing sound that rises rapidly and decreases slowly and is impossible to ignore.

The national siren system consists of 1,078 sirens mounted on buildings or poles in settlements with populations of more than 1,000 citizens, covering 80 percent of Denmark. The police often use speakers to reach areas that are not covered.

The widespread use of personalized technology in the form of mobile phones has given the authorities the idea to bring siren wailing in the comfort of your home as well – making sure that everyone can be warned. The extra siren emitted by mobile phones will last 10 seconds.

There is a concern, however, that the alarms may trigger PTSD

As expected, though, not everyone is happy about the idea of having a sudden alarm blast on your phone.

Civil organizations have raised concerns with at least two possible scenarios where the phone alarms may backfire and create severe troubles, and not just a mere nuisance.

The mobile phone siren is so loud it could trigger PTSD outbreaks among war veterans, for example. Nevertheless, the Emergency Management Agency says it has taken this into consideration. Its communications manager, Lars Aabjerg Pedersen, told TV2 that the agency has contacted several organisations to warn them to tell their members to completely switch off their phones.

Among the vulnerable groups who might be particularly sensitive are also young children, the elderly, people with mental health issues and abused women.

The last group was identified as particularly vulnerable because they might be using hidden phones, which the alarm would reveal to their abusers.

Overall, it seems that there is a point where unimpeded government interaction with people’s personal devices might feel like an unwelcome intrusion into privacy.



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