The purpose of the national warning system, which sent SMS messages to thousands of people yesterday, is to prevent more people from being involved in dangerous situations, said Kadi Luht-Kallas, advisor for emergency communication at the Ministry of the Interior.
Luht-Kallas said the system was planned to be used for events such as the 11-vehicle accident on the Tallinn Ring Road on Thursday. "To prevent further accidents, to prevent further victims, that's the general rule," she explained. "If there is a risk to people around the incident."
The system is in development and is still being tested by some agencies. Yesterday, the messages arrived almost two hours after the accident.
"Yes, they were sent out relatively late, at 9.40 a.m," admitted Luht-Kallas. "The PPA has never sent out threat warning messages before, which means it is new for them and needs practice. We are wiser and will do better next time."
She also said communication could have been clearer.
"We need to learn to write well," she said. "So that the ordinary person can understand. We are used to talking about 3rd kilometer, but it would have been better to write near Laged, for example."
Luht-Kallas also said the message's radius does not have to be circular in the future and could be better targeted to surrounding areas.
The message was received by almost 350,000 people who were within the coverage area of the mobile masts designated by the Police Board.
"We do not process any personal data, the alert will be sent to those within the coverage area of the mobile base stations or masts designated by the sender," explained Luht-Kallas.
"Messages are not sent when there is a threat tomorrow or in a week's time, but when the threat is immediate and the notification could save lives," she added.
Editor: Helen Wright