With tensions high since Russia invaded one of its neighbouring countries, Norwegian media found it important to send out reassuring messages that civil defense alarms would be ringing on Wednesday, and that it was just a drill.
“Stay calm, nothing to fear,” reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) just before the alarms were due to start ringing at noon. The state civil defense department just wanted to test its warning systems all over the country with especially its signal “Important message, seek information.” That involves three blasts of sirens with a minute between them.
Sirens are still used in acute situations but Civil Defense chief Øistein Knudsen made it clear that “we’re just testing the systems to make sure they work and check whether we need to repair any that aren’t functioning.”
The first nationwide testing of the New Year comes after ongoing concern over how Russia continues to bombard Ukraine, refuses to end its illegal occuption of eastern areas of its neighbouring country, and complain about how Norway and other NATO countries continue to help Ukraine defend itself.
Norway has also become a potential target because of its oil, gas and electricity supplies that have helped most of Europe tackle energy shortages after Russian oil and gas supplies have been cut off.
Norwegian authorities are also poised to roll out an additional civil defense system that will involve messages sent directly to all mobile telephones in specific regions. That system will begin to be tested over the next few months.