>> In 3.2 million emergency calls to 112, rescuers were automatically routed to the scene of the acciden
>> Curious emergency call operations: Penguins run over, UFOs sighted & prison wanted
Mobile communications create a sense of security and save lives. This was clearly demonstrated in 2023: The new disaster warning system ‘Cell Broadcast’ has already been used successfully 240 times. Over the Christmas period alone, the population in affected areas was warned ten times of high water and flooding. And a total of around 6 million emergency calls were made via Vodafone’s mobile network in 2023 – an average of more than 16,000 emergency calls per day. Vodafone takes stock.
‘Cell Broadcast’ disaster warning system successfully launched
The new Cell Broadcast disaster warning system was introduced nationwide on 23 February 2023. Since then, the new technology has already been used 240 times. “With Cell Broadcast, the population in affected areas are now warned quickly and specifically on their mobile phones about storms, major fires, earthquakes, floods, bomb disposal or other acute dangers,” says Vodafone’s Network Manager Tanja Richter, underlining the benefits of the new technology.
Vodafone Management: Tanja Richter, Managing Director Technology, is the Head of Network at Vodafone Germany. © Vodafone
The introduction of Cell Broadcast was prompted by the devastating flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in summer 2021. Cell Broadcast now complements the existing warning media mix of sirens, radio, TV and apps. The system also passed the stress test on the nationwide warning day on 14 September 2023: More than 50 million mobile phones buzzed simultaneously on this day. Older mobile phones can now also receive the warnings. The new system was installed in each of Vodafone’s more than 26,000 mobile phone stations.
The most mobile phone warnings via cell broadcast have been sent in NRW since the introduction: Here, the new system has been used 60 times so far (as of 27 December 2023). This is followed by Rhineland-Palatinate (39 deployments), followed by Bavaria (28), Lower Saxony (25), Hesse (23) and Schleswig-Holstein (22).
Mobile phone as mobile emergency call pillar: 6 million emergency calls in the Vodafone network
In 2023, mobile phones often served as mobile emergency call pillars: around 6 million emergency calls were made via the Vodafone mobile network alone. Of these, around 3.2 million emergency calls to 112 reached the local fire brigade rescue control centres, while the police emergency number 110 was successfully dialled around 2.8 million times. The highlight: when a mobile phone emergency call is made to 112, the exact location of the caller is now automatically transmitted to the rescue control centre everywhere in Germany. This enables the rescuers – such as emergency doctors and paramedics – to find the scene of the accident very quickly. Valuable time is gained: This is particularly important when every second counts in the event of an acciden
The mobile phone as an emergency call pillar: this is how mobile communications can save lives.
iStock/LightFieldStudios © iStock/LightFieldStudios
The most curious emergency calls in 2023
- Among the six million emergency calls, there were also some curious calls and deployments. Here are some of the most unusual emergency calls of 2023:
- “Come quickly, I’ve run over two penguins.” With this emergency call, a driver (25) alerted the police in Weilerbach in the West Palatinate on 25 November. He was referring to two black and white delineators at the side of the road – so-called “penguins”.
- An automatic emergency call triggered a major incident in Kleve on 4 October. The rescue coordination centre briefly heard a person crying, then the connection was lost. Assuming a car accident, the fire brigade sent several vehicles and a total of around 45 emergency services to the mobile phone location. However, the rescuers did not find an accident, just a couple who had been arguing violently. During the argument, one of them threw his mobile phone to the ground so violently that the automatic emergency call was made.
- On the A4 motorway near Bautzen, a mobile phone that had been run over triggered an emergency call on 26 July. The fire brigade, ambulance and police travelled to the scene of the supposed accident. However, the emergency services were unable to find an accident far and wide, but they did find the mobile phone that had been run over.
As his mother didn’t want to let him in at night, a 42-year-old man called the emergency services on 10 June and made a strange request: “He would now like to pull his joker and redeem the arrest warrant he still has so that he has somewhere to stay.” The man was picked up outside his mother’s flat in Andernach – and taken to Koblenz prison.
- On 1 March, several worried people called the emergency call centre in the Rhein-Sieg district at around 8 pm. They had seen dangerous missiles approaching the district. However, it was neither a military nor a secret service attack. It was the two planets Venus and Jupiter, which were unusually close to each other in an unusual constellation in the early evening.
- The fire brigade in Sulzemoos was called out to a curious incident on the night of 10 February. A woman had noticed an unpleasant odour and reported a widespread smell of sulphur throughout the village. The cause of the NBC operation was trivial: Slurry had been spread on some fields.
- On 27 January 2023, an emergency call was received by the police in the municipality of Süßen at around 12.30 pm. A 56-year-old man reported something unbelievable: he had found a strange woman in his own bed and no longer knew what to do. As it turned out on the scene, it was the partner of the desperate caller. The man was so drunk that he no longer recognised his partner. When the man then reported the theft of his socks, the officers ended the call.