Early warning systems to prevent damage from natural disasters 🌧️

25 July 2023

Hochwasser in der Stadt

A reliable early warning system is crucial to limit damage.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. In summer, there is a risk of severe weather and flooding.

An idyllic summer in Switzerland is a reason to rejoice for many, but the warm season also poses a serious danger: natural disasters such as floods or debris flows. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, partly because of climate change, says environmental scientist Sonja Seneviratne (2021). Above-average snowmelt and intense rainfall during storms can lead to flooding of riverbanks and settlements. This can lead to unpredictable and large-scale damage.

In 2021, severe storms caused floods, debris flows and landslides in Switzerland. Damage amounting to around 450 million Swiss francs was caused and there was even one fatality (Liechti et al., 2022). In view of these threats, a reliable and well-coordinated early warning system is essential.

Such an early warning system includes a good flow of information on natural hazards via public news, social media platforms or SMS. A reliable source of information on natural hazards is also provided by the Federal Office for the Environment (2023) with its hazard maps. These depict the expected probability of occurrence and intensity of natural hazards.

A comprehensive alerting and early warning system may also include sirens. These offer the possibility of a quick warning of approaching dangers without the need for a direct connection to those affected. Especially in rural areas where other means of communication are limited, sirens are an indispensable part of a warning system. Sirens also have a great advantage as a means of alerting people at night: due to their loudness, people in deep sleep can be awakened and thus warned. The early warning gives the affected people enough time to get to safety.

We see it as our responsibility to offer high-quality electronic sirens with a holistic service and to promote awareness of the correct behaviour in an emergency. In order to save lives and minimise property damage from natural disasters, federal investments in such high-quality warning and early warning systems are elementary. Together, we can effectively arm ourselves against the forces of nature. #togetherforsafety


We would be happy to advise you on holistic, qualitative warning systems! Get in touch with us.

Sources Information

Bundesamt für Umwelt. (2023) Gefahrenkarten, Intensitätskarten und Gefahrenhinweiskarten. https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/de/home/themen/naturgefahren/fachinformationen/naturgefahrensituation-und-raumnutzung/gefahrengrundlagen/gefahrenkarten–intensitaetskarten-und-gefahrenhinweiskarten.html

Liechti, K., Matter, D., Lustenberger, F., & Badoux, A. (2022). Unwetterschäden in der Schweiz 2021. Hochwasser, Murgänge, Rutschungen und Sturzprozesse. Wasser, Energie, Luft, 114(2), 85-93.

Seneviratne, S. (2021, July 14). “Solche Ereignisse werden häufiger und extremer”. SRF News. https://www.srf.ch/news/panorama/extremwetter-und-klimawandel-solche-ereignisse-werden-haeufiger-und-extremer


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