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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019 Aug;13(4):709-712. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2018.171. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Disaster Early Warning Systems: The Potential Role and Limitations of Emerging Text and Data Messaging Mitigation Capabilities.

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Department of Security Studies, Polish Air Force Academy, Dęblin, Poland.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.



The increased risk of mass accidents or major catastrophes taking place necessitates the organization of remedial measures to help protect against these unusual events and adequate preparation in order to minimize their effects. One such initiative is the early notification of residents within a specific area about the risk of a particular calamity. Nowadays, the prevalence of mobile devices enables the installation of various mobile applications allowing for the communication and receiving of information about potential dangers. In many countries there are variously developed systems of notification in place based specifically on text messages.


Currently, new laws introduced in Poland establish that it is the obligation of operators of mobile networks to send text messages to all customers of these networks who are within the area where there is a serious risk of a catastrophe. Such messages are in the form of a short alert, to be sent only in extraordinary situations when there is an immediate threat to health or life. The alert is intended to help in the avoidance of danger or to mitigate its impact.


This article presents the potential implementation of the early warning system based on text message alerts in Poland, and in particular focuses on decreasing the risks associated with natural disasters.


While early text messaging is essential to disaster communications and mitigation, the article further states that means must be found to ensure equal access to the most vulnerable populations and all those, vulnerable and not, who do not have immediate access to text messaging systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:709-712).


disaster management; disaster prevention & preparedness; electronic messaging; remote early warning systems; security systems; vulnerable populations


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