I’ll tell you what the Civil Protection ES-Alert alert system is and what steps to follow to activate it on your mobile device.

An alert from the Civil Protection notification system.

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In this article I am going to explain everything about Civil Protection alerts. I’ll tell you what exactly they are, how they work and why they should come to you automatically. Also, I show you the settings you should apply on your device to allow emergency notices issued through this system to reach you.

As it is a system that keeps you warned against natural disasters and other important events, I recommend that you stay until the end. This way, you will have all the necessary information, not only to activate the system, but also about its operation.

  • What are Civil Protection alerts?
  • Why don’t I receive Civil Protection alerts on my mobile phone?

What are Civil Protection alerts?

Lets start by the beginning. What are Civil Protection emergency alerts? Well, it is a system that sends warnings in the form of sound and text message to mobile phones that are in a risk area. In this way, users can be warned about extreme phenomena or emergency situations that have happened nearby.

For this to work, a system called ES-Alert. Although the person responsible for the platform is the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior, it is a technology available to state and regional authorities.

How to configure your cell phone so that you receive emergency alerts

Civil Protection alerts are sent to all mobile phones located near an emergency

This fact is relevant. The autonomous communities, with their respective interior and security departments, can also send warnings surgically, that is, precisely delimiting the area in which the alerts are sent. Therefore, although we talk at all times about a universal protocol throughout Spain, serves to alert specific groups of citizens and not to the entire country.

ES-Alert and privacy. How does it really work?

It is possible that some see the ES-Alert system as an invasion of privacy, as it is a protocol that allows the Government to send messages to citizens’ phones without prior authorization.

If you are one of those who are concerned about privacy and think that the Civil Protection alert system uses your personal data to send you the corresponding notices, you should take into account the following points:

  • Telephone numbers are not used. Civil Protection alerts are sent through telephone antennas. This allows the notice to be sent to a specific group of devices located in the affected geographic area.
  • Alerts can be disabled. As we will see below, both Android phones and the iPhone allow you to disable the receipt of these notices.
  • Messages are sent to all users. This system does not discriminate against anyone, but it also does not make a selection of the devices that will receive the alert. Therefore, even people who are outside their community of residence or foreigners receive the alert.

It is evident that ES-Alert does not invade the privacy of users. It has always been used to fulfill its objective, that is, to quickly and quickly alert population groups that are at risk. In no case does it have any other objective than that.

By the way, ES-Alert is not a rare bird in Europe. Other countries use the same protocol to alert all citizens and tourists of dangerous situations, as happened in the historic floods in Greece in 2023.

Why don’t I receive Civil Protection alerts on my mobile phone?

There are three reasons why Civil Protection alerts are not reaching your mobile. Below, we take a look at the possible causes and their solutions.

You are not in a risk zone

Alerts are sent only to those devices that are connected to an antenna located near a risk area. That means that even if you live in a community where an emergency is expected, you don’t have to receive the notice.

For example, imagine that you live in the northern part of Catalonia, in the province of Girona. In Tarragona there are heavy rains and Civil Protection alerts the population in the danger area using ES-Alert. In that case, you should not receive the alert because, although it is the same community, you should not be affected.

A failure on your device

Most devices are compatible with ES-Alert. However, there can always be technical failures that do not prevent your mobile phone from receiving the alert properly. It is not the most common cause, but it should not be ruled out.

You have deactivated the reception of ES-Alert messages

Although it is a message that improves the safety of the population, ES-Alert can be freely deactivated by users. Generally, Civil Protection alerts are activated by default.

I do not receive Civil Protection alerts on my mobile: everything you should do

On Android, it is that easy to activate Civil Protection alerts

However, if you want to make sure you receive them, follow these steps on your Android device:

  1. Open the Settings.
  2. Press on Security and Emergencies.
  3. Tap on Wireless emergency alerts.
  4. Turn on the control next to Allow alerts.

I do not receive Civil Protection alerts on my mobile: everything you should do

This is the option in the Notifications section of the Settings application that you must activate on the iPhone.

If you have an iPhone, do this:

  1. Go into Setting.
  2. Press on Notifications.
  3. Active Civil Protection Pre-Alerts.

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