Press Release

The 112 Suomi mobile application helps to convey crucial information to the public

Public notifications can now be released via the 112 Suomi mobile application. The new feature was developed quickly to meet the communication needs in emergency conditions and the current coronavirus situation. Public notifications can be released to all users or only to users in a specific geographical area.

The number of active users has made the 112 Suomi application a useful tool for conveying information and instructing people on what to do and which authority to contact in different situations. The new feature, which enables conveying public notifications, strengthens the role of the application as a central platform for public services.

The 112 Suomi application introduced public warnings about a year ago. The new feature now enables the use of the application for lower threshold notifications and for informing the public about different situations. The new public notifications feature works in the same way as the public warnings feature. The new feature was developed quickly to meet the communication needs in emergency conditions and the current coronavirus situation. The aim is, however, to also use the feature for other public notifications.

Public notifications are released in order to reduce uncertainty, dispel rumours and instruct people on how to act under the prevailing conditions

A 112 Suomi public notification refers to various notifications and instructions related to exceptional situations, emergency missions, drills or circumstances, which are released to the public in order to dispel rumours and prevent unnecessary calls to the emergency number or to instruct people on how to act under the prevailing conditions. These are used when a situation or incident occurs which requires informing or instructing the public but which does not warrant issuing an public warning. The authority in charge of operations decides on the need for notifications and their content.

A need for a public notification may arise, for example, in different large-scale situations where the public needs to be instructed on how to act or if a child or a person with dementia has gone missing in a specific area. A local public notification may also be issued if authorities arrange drills or practise firing distress flares in a certain area, in order to prevent unnecessary calls to the emergency number and ensuing false alarms. The notifications can include a link for further information from the authority in charge.

"We are continuously exploring and planning for different scenarios. Our goal is to plan for these different scenarios and related communication processes together with different authorities in the national cooperation team of the Emergency Response Centre Agency," says Marko Nieminen, Director of ERC Sevices.

Public notifications are entered in the system by the Command and Control Centre of the Emergency Response Centre Agency according to the content and geographical specifications provided by the authority. The notifications are released in the application in Finnish and Swedish. If the notification must also be given in Saami, each authority will take care of this via other communication channels. The application has to be updated to activate the public notifications feature.

The sound signal of public notifications is the normal sound chosen by the user for application notifications

A public notification will be displayed on your phone in the same way as other application notifications.

"You will see the public notification on the screen of your phone and at the same time you will hear the same sound you have chosen for other notifications in your phone. The authorities can also send updates as events unfold and notify the public when the situation has returned to normal, and these notifications appear on phones in the same manner," explains Sami Suomalainen, Application Specialist at the Emergency Response Centre Agency.

The whole release can be read by tapping on the notification or the menu in the top corner of the app. The menu shows all the active public notifications. The public notifications are in the language chosen by the user for the application. The language options are Finnish or Swedish. If the user has chosen English as the phone’s default language, public notifications will be shown in Finnish.

“My friend received a public notification but I did not. Why is this?”

Phone operating systems may restrict the reception of public notifications. According to Sami Suomalainen, a notification may not come through, for example, if a phone is in a power-saving mode or if the phone’s location cannot be accessed for some reason.

“Some phone manufacturers put restrictions on their products that the application cannot override. There can be, for example, a limit on the number of notifications that a phone is able to store. Once the limit is reached, no more notifications can get through, including public warnings. There is more information about these kinds of restrictions on the website," he says.

The 112 Suomi application and its new features were designed by the Emergency Response Centre Agency in collaboration with Digia.

The public notification feature of the 112 Suomi mobile application will be launched on 22 April. Users have to update the application to activate new features.

Further information:
Emergency Response Centre Agency
Marko Nieminen
Director, ERC Services
tel. +358 (0)29 548 1291

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