Natural hazards warnings Switzerland

The Swiss Confederation warns of natural hazards

The Federal Office for the Environment, MeteoSwiss, the Federal Office for Civil Protection, the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL with the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF and the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich have joined forces in the Steering Committee Intervention in Natural Hazards (LAINAT).

The relevant government agencies are constantly monitoring the situation with regard to natural hazards, and are responsible for issuing warnings to the authorities and the public. The individual specialist agencies take a coordinated approach when issuing warnings. If an event relates to more than one specialist agency, joint warnings are issued on the basis of an agreed assessment of the hazard situation (working to the “Single Official Voice” principle). The various specialist government agencies for natural hazards consult with each other via the “Natural Hazards Steering Committee”.

The role of SLF

Depending on the current situation, the SLF is represented on the natural hazards steering committee by its own professional experts working in the avalanche warning service and/or the operational snow-hydrological service (OSHD). The avalanche warning service assesses avalanche dangers in the Swiss Alps and issues daily avalanche bulletins in the winter. The SLF's operational snow-hydrological service (OSHD) continuously analyses the distribution of snow water resources and assists the flood warning service of the National Environmental Agency (BAFU).