Alarms and behaviour guidelines

1. Overview

In the event of a disaster, warning should be given to the entire population in the area concerned. To this end, Switzerland has a dense network of sirens covering the entire country.

Most disasters are of local or regional magnitude.

Geneva currently has 116 fixed sirens across the canton. Inside buildings open to the general public, alarms are relayed by telephone and instructions are issued to occupants.

2. Instructions in case of a general alarm

In the event of a general alarm (consisting of a wavering sound for one minute), instructions are simple:

  1. Stay inside, shut doors and windows, turn off ventilation system.
  2. Keep informed (listen to local media and/or refer to instructions issued on the smartphone app Alertswiss). These media ensure broadcasting of information to the public 24 hours a day.
  3. Follow the instructions provided by the authorities.
  4. Inform your neighbours, if necessary.
General Alarm Behaviour

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3. Instructions in case of a water alarm

In the event of a water alarm (consisting of a continuous sound for 20 seconds), the instructions are simple:

  1. Leave the danger zone immediately.
  2. Listen to the radio RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse).
  3. Follow the instructions provided by the authorities.

Alarme eau

4. Alarm tests

Every first Wednesday in February, a siren test is carried out throughout Switzerland to check the proper functioning of the installations and to inform the population of the appropriate behaviour to adopt in the event of an alarm.

Depending on technical requirements, additional tests may be organised at other times. In all cases, the population is informed in advance.

5. Alertswiss app

In addition to the sirens, the Alertswiss application allows cantons to inform and alert the population of any major event likely to have consequences for their situation and/or safety.

It provides useful information on ordinary events (traffic jams, demonstrations, etc.), as well as on more serious dangers.

Depending on the nature of the notification, the application also provides information on how to react.

Information and warnings are sent directly to smartphones. The location tool allows messages to be sent directly to the population in the area concerned.

To download the Alertswiss application

Code QR Alertswiss
Code QR Alertswiss

Furthermore, the portal provides essential information on disaster and emergency preparedness in Geneva and Switzerland, as well as on how to react.