Emergency alert messages frustrating Busan citizens

haps Magazine Korea

What is supposed to be a service to warn citizens of emergency disasters has been turning to be an increasing annoyance for many around the city.

According to the city government, hundreds of complaints about the Emergency Alert system have been received at the city and district offices about the frequency of the alerts.

According to the Busan Ilbo, the authority to transmit the emergency disaster texts was partially transferred to each local government on August 16 last year.

Currently, national government agencies send out the disaster notices and are collectively handled by each local government.


Emergency Alerts sent out this past week in Busan.

Texts are then determined to be sent out by a manager from city hall who decides whether or not to transmit the emergency disaster notice.

However, a report last month by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security noted that 8 out of 12 emergency messages sent out by Busan city were “improper” and not related to the government’s “emergency standard”.

Those messages sent were related to fine dust warnings and traffic control.

Many are concerned that real emergencies may be ignored if the system starts to become overused for what many perceive as alerts that are not truly significant.

Others have complained that the loud siren noise of the system has interrupted meetings, and caused panic in daycares with young children, and becomes annoying in movie theaters and other public places when everyone receives a warning message at the same time.

A city official said that though Emergency Alert transmission standards may inconvenience citizens, it is intended to prepare citizens in advance to avoid possible disasters.

While the city only puts out alerts in Korean, you can download an app called EmergencyReadyAPP in English and Chinese, which is a smartphone application that the Ministry of Public Safety and Security launched to help citizens and foreign residents in Korea to be updated about various natural disasters and their present conditions.

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