If your mobile phone starts behaving strangely today don’t worry: the Spanish Interior Ministry is testing a new nationwide emergency warning system and in the case of people in Andalucía, as well as making an alert sound and vibrating, there will be a message saying: “Esto es un mensaje de prueba del nuevo sistema español de avisos de emergencias a través de redes de telefonía móvil [112 inverso] enviado por los Servicios de Protección Civil de la Junta de Andalucía”.
In other words, “a message to test the new Spanish emergency warning system via mobile phones, sent by the Junta de Andalucía’s Civil Protection Service”.
Many people can expect to receive this message today, and an official statement from the Ministry of the Interior emphasises that it is not a hoax but it is not a real emergency either.
The authorities want to confirm that the ES-Alert protocol is working properly. When up and running, it will alert people in an areas affected by imminent emergencies or catastrophes, through a system known as ‘112 inverso’.
Anyone who receives one of these test messages just has to press ‘Aceptar’ to remove it from the screen. The authorities stress that there is no need to do anything else.
The tests will take place at 12 noon and last for about five minutes.
People in Andalucía, Cantabria and Asturias will be the first to receive the test messages today, Monday 24 October. The tests will then be carried out in other regions of Spain in stages until 16 November.
According to the Ministry, when the system is operating the messages will only be sent when people need to take active measures to protect themselves or to minimise imminent risks. Those messages will clearly describe what the emergency is and where it is likely to affect and will include advice on what to do.
The system can send the messages in Spanish and English and the authorities say this means it will be particularly useful in tourist areas.