The “RO-ALERT” system which allows citizens living in areas with major disaster risk to be quickly informed, through their cell phones, will be running as of this year. At the moment, steps are being taken in order to bring the system to its maximum capacity, Secretary of State with the Interior Ministry (MAI) Raed Arafat announced on Monday.
“We have already carried out discussions with mobile telephone network operators, with the STS [the Special Telecommunications Service] and a protocol is to be concluded, which already is approved by everyone, in order to start running the ‘RO-ALERT’ system. On the other hand, it’s a discussions with those importing the telephone terminals, in order to ensure that, at a certain point, all terminals which are imported to Romania have included the activated system. There is an activated percentage and there is a higher percentage that is not activated. We will be working on that, on activating through certain codes and here, the STS will collaborate with mobile telephone network operators, and, at a certain moment, through a normative act, we hope that the ANCOM [National Authority for Communications Administration and Regulation] issue the decision under which only telephones with the system activated are to be imported in Romania, those ready to receive messages,” Arafat explained on the occasion of presenting the activity review of the Inspectorate General for Emergency Situations (IGSU) for 2017.
According to him, in the upcoming period, the system will be expanded and the necessary costs are to be probably ensured from European funding.
“Besides these messages that are coming straight on the phones, our thinking is to also inter-connect the system with mass media, and with other means, and with the DSU [Department for Emergency Situations] app, so that a message sent from a phone also reach other sources of information of the population. From here on, Mrs Minister [Interior Minister Carmen Dan] stated that the actual implementation lasts and it will last another two-three years, that’s how long it lasted in other countries, but the system is to be functional as of this year, the State Secretary said.
When referring to the Integrated Emergency Center, Arafat stated that “there are a couple of simple works to be done” until it is completed.
“There are a couple of simple works to be done, namely wires and many functionalities aspects that have been demanded in addition by firefighters, ambulance, that will move there. The works cannot be carried out if people are already there. We hoped that we complete it faster, but, unfortunately, this thing extended. Thus, the project exists, in the shortest time possible we are preparing the relocation there. There is the problem of executing these additional works, some connections and some sockets that are necessary and which have to be made prior to moving the dispatchers,” Arafat stated.
When asked how long until completion, the State Secretary responded: “I hope we are talking about one week, two, a month until completion.”