Development of the nationwide digital radio network for German civil defence agencies has begun in the Osnabrück district, where professional firefighters and rescue workers are now being alerted over the e*BOS network operated by e*Message. Alerting messages are sent over a frequency reserved exclusively for civil defence agencies, in keeping with last summer’s decision by the German Telecommunications Authority (RegTP). The frequency is reserved throughout the country, and was chosen in coordination with neighbouring countries.
The Osnabrück district, with an area similar to that of Luxembourg, has abandoned its obsolete analog radio network and now alerts professional rescue workers using the digital e*BOS network operated by e*Message. The German Telecommunications Authority has decided to reserve a frequency exclusively for alerting messages sent by the country’s civil defence agencies. The frequency is reserved throughout Germany, and was chosen in coordination with neighbouring countries. Rescue workers are now using the new e*Alarm IV text pagers.
Alert messages are sent from the Osnabrück firefighting and rescue command post, which oversees 10 rescue stations, 8 hospitals, 4 works fire brigades, 91 volunteer firefighters in 21 municipalities, and 2 rural fire brigades. In 2003, Osnabrück rescue workers were called out 37,000 times, including 32,000 rescue operations and ambulance trips. The new digital network has already showed its advantages, since messages sent over e*BOS leave more network resources available for voice communication.
Rescue workers in the Osnabrück district tested the new alerting network for three months last year. The “Digital Radio” working group (AG DiNi) set up by the Lower Saxony State Ministry of the Interior evaluated the pilot project: “The results of the test phase were clearly positive. e*Message provided total coverage of the territory. Messages were receivable even in hospitals and in underground car parks (second underground level). The network provides excellent indoor reception.”
e*Message upgraded all the ground stations in the Osnabrück district for compatibility with the e*BOS network in record time, thus paving the way for the post-testing phase. The actual coverage rate was assessed in January and August 2004 during two three-day measurement campaigns in the countryside, in buildings and in underground locations. The measurement technicians covered 1350 kilometres, travelling such difficult terrain as the Wiehen and Teutoburger Wald mountains. A total of 9472 messages were sent during these campaigns—all of which were received. The survey also demonstrated that major roads outside the district, such as the A1 autobahn and several routes to hospitals, were also covered by the e*BOS network. This means that alerting messages can be received in an area twice as large as the Osnabrück district.
Please visit www.bos-alarmierung.de for more details (click on “Praxisbeispiel Osnabrück”).