Early warning system tested

Mobile phone tower broadcasting

Mobile phone tower broadcasting. Shutterstock

People in some parts of Mallorca heard their phones beep loudly between mid-day and 12:30 on Friday 19 April.

The mobile phone broadcast early warning system known as ES-Alert (Spain alert) or reverse 112 was being tested in Colònia de Sant Pere and es Pinaret  and other locations in the Baleares.

This is designed to alert citizens of natural disasters and other emergencies so they can take swift and appropriate action to protect themselves and their community.

All mobile phones located in the area of es Pinaret and Colònia de Sant Pere were in the broadcast area for the message.

Alerted even if on silence

Even if phones are on silent, switched off or in airplane mode, they vibrate and emit a beep at maximum volume and a large text message appears on the screen.

The ES-Alert technology is based on cell broadcast technology. The name refers to mobile phone coverage areas, or cells, which depend on the location of antennae.

The system does not send alerts to specific phone numbers, as it has none stored, nor does it record any data from recipients of the message.

The notification is sent to mobile phones in English, Catalan or Spanish, depending on the language in which the phone is configured. It reads as follows:

“Civil Protection Alert. TESTING OF THE SYSTEM TO ALERT THE POPULATION IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY. Do not respond to this message. Do not call 112. THIS IS A TEST – General Directorate of Emergencies and Interior”.

After reading the message, pressing “OK” eliminates it.

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Annie christmas in the Bay of Palma
Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.