In Romania, there is a wide range of warning systems, including RO Alert – a cell broadcast that sends public alerts, the DSU app – the official mobile app of the Department for Emergency Situations, and sirens and warnings on national TV and radio. However, in the countryside and in limited cases, the warning of an exceptional situation such as an emergency or disaster may take other forms: church bells are more common and, more rarely, the beating of drums or the use of horns.
So when a disaster occurs, bells are rung in some regions to warn the population. The signal is given by the person responsible for disaster control in the town hall. He or she contacts the bell ringer, who goes up to the bell tower to sound the bell.
In the past, church bells or special fire bells were also used to announce and warn of emergencies or disasters. After the First and Second World Wars, warning systems developed rapidly. However, churches with bells are still common in many countries today and can be used as a warning system. Nowadays, for example the UK government uses the church bells as a back-up warning system for floods in Starcross village, in case all usual forms of communications fail.
Bells can still be used in addition to, or as an alternative to, other official warning systems, whether in remote areas, in areas not otherwise equipped, or when newer warning systems fail.