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BE-Alert emergency messaging system put to the test
Belgium's emergency alert system, BE-Alert, has been put to the test and will be improved over the coming weeks to ensure that emergency messages get out to the public as quickly and reliably as possible.
One year after launch, BE-Alert carried out its first large-scale national test last week, pushing out 314,500 text messages, emails and voicemails to registered recipients in 145 of the 403 Belgian communes that have signed up for the service.
The Belgian federal government's Crisis Centre will conduct a study over the coming weeks into how the experiment went and what needs improving to make the service "more effective in an emergency", a spokesman said. Initial reports suggest some of the SMS text messages were delayed because of the sheer number being sent at once.
More than two-thirds of Belgium's 589 municipalities are involved in the mass-messaging system. Emergency alerts can either be sent by the commune, provincial or federal authorities - and it is reserved for emergency situations such as floods, storms or major fires. Anyone not yet registered can fill in their details at www.be-alert.be