By Andreas Kreuzer
The U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Antiterrorism Office recommends residents stay up-to-date through local news sources about the area they live when they are in or out-of-town. KATWARN is a free mobile app service for official warning information in German zip codes. The app exclusively displays information from authorities, facilities and control centers. KATWARN tells users when there is a potentially dangerous situation and suggests what to do when alerted.
With the ability to register seven different zip code areas, the app is a good resource to monitor activity in off-post areas while away from home.
“If I am at work or TDY and alerted of activity in my neighborhood from the app, I know to contact my family members at home to make sure they are OK and aware too,” said Robert Daul, antiterrorism officer, USAG Stuttgart. “It’s a helpful tool to monitor my local neighborhood, in addition to AtHoc alerts from garrison officials, when my family is out of town, I know what’s going on near my house.”
According to the app website, KATWARN sends important warning and behavioral information supplemented by sirens, loudspeaker announcements or messages on the radio. The warnings do not include weather, which is announced by the German Weather Service. The sender of each warning is indicated in the respective text message received.
The app includes the following features:
- Official warnings for a current location in Germany
- Official warnings for seven user-selected locations
- Event-related warnings by theme subscriptions (events, closed areas, etc.)
- Overview of warnings in the wider area
- Ability to forward or share alerts, for example, via Twitter
- Personal test alarm on personal smartphone
Alternatively, the mobile app NINA by the Federal Office for Citizen Protection and Disaster Support (BBK) provides official government warnings and procedures in case of emergency situations. NINA is for iOS just available in the German iTunes store.
In the event of municipal threats and threats to public security, the responsibility lies exclusively with the respective county or the city. State and large-scale threats to public security are responsibility of the minister of the interior for the following cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. If personnel plan to travel to these areas, or any areas abroad, register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
To register for on-post alerts through AtHoc, go to the AtHoc self-registration link using a Common Access Card here: https://warnings1.army.mil/SelfService/2026328. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
Warning areas available in the KATWARN app include:
District of Ahrweiler
District of Altenkirchen
County of Anhalt-Bitterfeld
County Bad Dürkheim
District of Bad Kreuznach
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County of Böblingen
County of Darmstadt-Dieburg
City of Emden
City of Frankenthal (Palatinate)
District of Göttingen
City of Göttingen
District of Groß-Gerau
Region of Hannover
City of Hanover
District of Herford
District of Hersfeld-Rotenburg
City of Kaiserslautern
City of Landau in der Pfalz
District of Munich
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
City of Oldenburg
County of Osnabrück
District of Paderborn
City of Pirmasens
City of Worms
Photo Credit: Holly DeCarlo-White, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs