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The Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority: Success in Activating the Early Warning System through Smart Phones

A number of residents of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah received warning messages from the police general commands about the weather conditions in their emirates stating “Due to the bad weather conditions, place stay in your homes and leave only if necessary”. The messages were sent through the national early warning system.

Dr. Al Hosani said that the sound of the warning and the vibrations accompanying the warning messages received by the residents are not a large disturbance as the issue involves protecting them from danger and directing them to act correctly. He stressed the importance of complying with these messages. He added that the messages automatically reach phones that have the warning feature included in them, indicating the importance of raising awareness to comply with the instructions in these messages to protect the lives of individuals.Regarding the fact that some people do not receive warning messages, Al Hosani said that some old phones that do not include the “Warning” feature are unable to receive these messages, adding that coordination with concerned authorities is under way to include this feature in all phones entering the state. The role of sending warning messages is limited to the concerned parties in the national early warning system, which undertakes to protect individuals and the society. These concerned parties are: the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, the Ministry of Interior, the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police, the General Command of Dubai Police, the General Command of Sharjah Police, the General Command of Ajman Police, the General Command of Umm al Quwain Police, the General Command of Ras al Khaimah Police, the General Command of Fujairah Police, and the Ministry of Health and Prevention.On his part, Nasser Mohammad Al Yammahi, Director of Media and Mass Communication stated that the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority has been able to complete the first stage of the national early warning system by activating mobile transmission to mobile phones in coordination with the General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications sector to enable parties to send warning messages to the public.Abu Dhabi Police was the first body to officially benefit from the system through an alert only sent to the residents of Abu Dhabi about the emirate being exposed to rain and severe winds and warning them to stay indoors.Al Yammahi said that as part of the Authority’s concern for the safety of citizen’s and resident’s lives and for protecting gains and properties, the national early warning system was established aiming at warning the public from any dangers or risks in times of emergencies and crises. This shall be carried out through sending warning messages through all available communication means. He mentioned that the system’s warning messages reach a large number of people in the determined geographical location in a very short time, unlike text messages which are difficult to send to a large number of people at the same time. Warning messages are also characterized by reaching all mobile phones even in areas with no signal through a special warning tune. He added that the early warning system is also specialized in sending warning messages through communication networks to reach the public in the desired location on their mobile phones within seconds. These messages do not affect the performance of communication networks in the state. The system is the first of its kind in the Middle East.He stressed that the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority will spare no effort to ensure the safety and security of everyone living in the UAE. To instigate its role, the Authority tweeted warning messages to the public through its “Twitter” account calling on them not to leave their homes too much and to stay indoors as much as possible during unstable weather conditions. It also asked the public to pay attention to weather changes, listen to weather bulletins and official media outlets, and follow official social media websites. The Authority also called through its “Twitter” account on car drivers to drive safely during severe weather. It stated that correct action during severe weather conditions protects individuals from danger.

Early Warning Objectives:

1. Preserving lives and properties, limiting the effects of an emergency event and reaching the largest amount of people.

2. Strengthening the idea of the national early warning system among concerned parties and state institutions to ensure coordination during warnings.

3. Ensuring rapid and accurate sending of warnings by activating comprehensive electronic systems.

4. Enhancing the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in all of its operational stages.

5. Enhancing the state’s status and rating in global readiness indexes.

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