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Public Warning and Alert System for Austria



In most crisis and disaster situations, the effectiveness of civil defence as well as the efficiency of response organizations strongly depends on the degree of cooperation or interference on the part of the civilian population.

A successful cooperation between the civil defence as well as response organizations could ensure  for example, that evacuation measures are carried out swiftly, that people move to the safety of buildings in a timely manner in critical hazardous situations, or that important transport links are relieved.

In the current approach in Austria, the warning and alerting of the population is carried out exclusively in a coarse-grained manner via sirens and via radio, whereas the current state of the art would make it possible to reach the population groups quickly and with pinpoint accuracy via several information channels (such as cell phones) using geo-referenced methods, to provide them precisely with relevant information about what is happening on the ground, and thus to optimize their protection and cooperation with the emergency response organizations considerably in terms of an increase in safety and overall efficiency.



In order to improve the communication of civil protection authorities with the population, a novel, holistic alerting concept for Austria was developed in an interdisciplinary approach in the project PASA (Public Warning and Alert System for Austria).

For this purpose, the corresponding preferences of the population as well as of the public need groups were first ascertained in or­­der to define targeted social, organizational, and technical requirements on this basis. These requirements formed the basis for the specification of a new alerting architecture for Austria. Based on this, the most important components of the new architecture, including the alerting channels to be taken into account, were implemented in the form of a proof-of-concept and subsequently evaluated both with the stakeholders and with representative groups from the Austrian population. This enabled precise qualitative and quantitative statements to be made on the range, acceptance and efficiency of the solution approach designed.

The new system takes into account the complex federal legal situation in Austria and the resulting different responsibilities and roles of the responsible bodies (municipality, district, state, federal government). To this end, in addition to the sociological and technical research work, an ongoing review of the compatibility of the envisaged solutions with the given legal framework was carried out as part of the project. The findings obtained in the project were continuously incorporated into the latest planning at the federal and provincial levels within the framework of the Technical Group of the State Crisis and Disaster Management (SKKM), which is jointly managed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the provinces. At the same time, the SKKM technical group ensured that PASA was continuously provided with the latest technical requirements of the most important public authorities in Austria. This ensured that the interdisciplinary research carried out in PASA could create significant added value for the entire Austrian society.


Project Coordinator

AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Project partners

  •     Arbeitsgruppe Rechtsinformatik an der Abteilung für Völkerrecht und Internationale Beziehungen des Instituts für Europarecht, Internationales Recht und Rechtsvergleichung, Universität Wien
  •     Bundesministerium für Inneres
  •     Institut für empirische Sozialforschung GmbH
  •     IFES Feld GmbH
  •     JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
  •     PL·O·T EDV-Planungs- und Handels GmbH
  •     Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH