Ahead of air raid siren test at midday, interest groups warn mobile phone addition could be triggering

Emission of loud noise could also expose abused women with hidden devices

On the first Wednesday of May, newcomers to Denmark are often shocked by the sound of air raid sirens blaring out across the country.

No, the country isn’t under imminent attack. Instead, the authorities are testing the emergency siren system – just in case.

And in line with that scenario getting a little more likely lately, a new accompaniment is being added to the chorus this lunchtime: an extra siren emitted from all our mobile phones, which will last for 10 seconds.

For many reasons, the new addition is not sitting well with many people in Denmark.

READ ALSO: Siren testing will sound eerier than in previous years

Siren could be triggering
The mobile phone siren is so loud it could trigger PTSD outbreaks among veterans, for example.

Nevertheless, the Emergency Management Agency says it has taken this into consideration. Its communications manager, Lars Aabjerg Pedersen, told TV2 the agency has contacted several organisations to warn them to tell their members to completely switch off their phones.

Among the vulnerable groups who might be particularly sensitive are young children, the elderly, people with mental health issues, veterans and abused women.

Setting the phone to airplane mode won’t be enough to stop the siren.

And it could expose hidden phones
But it might not be that simple for vulnerable people who have hidden phones – for example, women in abusive relationships, or youngsters in controlling home environments involved in ‘forbidden relationships’.

Mette Marie Yde, the head of the women’s crisis centre Danner, told TV2 that some of her clients could be in real danger if they haven’t turned off their phones.

“If the abuser finds out that you have a hidden phone, it can have some really unfortunate consequences and violent actions, which can be dangerous for the woman,” she warned.

“We know from other countries, where siren alerts are sent out on the phone, that there are women who have ended up in dangerous situations because their phone has been discovered.”