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After the stint of natural (and unnatural) disasters around the globe this year, wouldn't you like to be instantly alerted to any emergency happening near your home? To help with this, and make sure people who may not be near a TV or radio could still get danger warnings, the Dutch government has decided to do a test with mobile phone messaging. Using what is called Cell Broadcast, GSM technology will send out a cell phone message, letting people know what's going on.

If something happens in the center of The Hague, for example, we can select communication points from telecom companies and everyone who is within a few 100 meters can get the information.

This will be used in concurence with other emergency tactics, like plain old sirens and special emergency broadcasts. Right now, the trial is taking place in Zoetermeer and will soon go to Amsterdam and the south-west of Holland. Mobile operators KPN, Vodaphone and Telfort are all helping with the trial.

Dutch trial SMS disaster alert system [CNN]