Staying Up to Date in an Emergency

Reading time: 5 min

If the power is out for an extended period or extreme weather conditions cut you off from the outside world, it’s important to stay informed. Here’s how.

It’s a nice cozy evening, the TV is on, the little lamp on the windowsill is filling the room with warm light … then suddenly all is quiet. And dark. You quickly check the light switches and other home appliances to confirm that the power’s out. Looking outside, you see that the same goes for all the other homes in the neighborhood. But why? Is there a storm nearby? Should you be worried? At times like these, staying up to date is vital.

Keep Emergency Power Reserves Available for Digital Devices

During a power outage, it’s important to get information from your power supplier or local crisis unit. Provided the cellular network is still up and running, you can do that on your smartphone. And if you have a power bank with a full charge – ideally, a rechargeable one with solar cells – you’ll also be able to recharge your cellphone, laptop, or tablet.

What Kind of Radio Is Useful in an Emergency?

Since radio stations have emergency generators, radio – either a battery-powered one or a car radio – is another good way to obtain information. Radios that can be charged using solar cells or a crank handle are particularly suitable for power outages. Car radios are also an option at such times, provided the car battery holds out.

Then there’s the traditional source of information: your local public authorities. It’s best to make sure you know ahead of time how and where to get information in a power outage.

Warning Signals in the Ruhr Valley

With its loud tone, a siren is an effective tool. At the very least, it provides a clearly audible warning that people in the area are in danger. You can then use the media (radio, warning apps, websites, etc.) to obtain vital information on what to do and what the threat is.

Sirens indicate the beginning or end of a danger situation using a wailing sound that rises and falls:

1 minute wail: rising and falling

Meaning in peacetime: disaster alert

Meaning in a state of defense: air raid alert

Instructions for the public

  • Go to an enclosed room! (Do not fetch your children from school or kindergarten! Take in unprotected passersby!)

  • Shut your windows and doors! (Turn off your air conditioning or ventilation system!)

  • Turn on your radio or TV!

  • Don’t make any phone calls! (To avoid overloading the phone network, you should only use your phone in an emergency (fire, accident, etc.), and then only call the emergency numbers 112 or 110!)

Listen to the signal here .

1-minute steady tone – continuous

Meaning in peacetime: none

Meaning in a state of defense: all is clear

This cancels the state of alert previously initiated.

Listen to the signal here .

1-minute steady tone – interrupted twice

Meaning in peacetime: alerts the fire department that they are needed urgently

Meaning in a state of defense: alerts the fire department that they are needed urgently

In smaller towns, this is often the only method of letting the fire department know they are needed.

Listen to the signal here .