Heightened state of alert and war

To strengthen the country's defence capability, the state of alert may be heightened. During a state of heightened alert, all of society must work together to ensure essential functions.

Heightened state of alert

The government can decide on a heightened state of alert to strengthen Sweden's ability to defend itself. This can happen, for example, in the event of wars and conflicts in our neighbourhood, or if the situation in the rest of the world seriously affects our country or threatens our security and independence. In times of heightened state of alert, you must follow the advice of the authorities and keep yourself updated on what is happening. If compulsory military service is introduced, you must report for duty immediately.

Hightened state of alert is a collective term for the levels of preparedness "increased state of alert" and "highest state of alert".

Increased state of alert

Increased state of alert is the lower of the two levels. If the government decides on increased state of alert, Sweden is deemed to be in danger of war or that there are extraordinary circumstances caused by a war outside Sweden's borders. Society must then begin to adapt to meet the needs of total defence. At the same time, ordinary functions must continue as far as possible.

Highest state of alert

Highest state of alert is the highest of the two levels of preparedness and automatically applies if Sweden becomes involved in a war. If the Government decides on the highest state of alert, it may also be a question of a war risk (i.e. not war). All societal activities must then support the total defence. Authorities and municipalities must be organised for war and compulsory military service will be introduced.

How do I know if there is a heightened state of alert ?

You can get information about high alert through radio and television. Swedish Radio P4 is the emergency channel and must be able to quickly reach the public with important information in the event of a crisis or heightened state of alert . Emergency alarms are also used to announce that the country is on high alert. Read more about preparedness alarms and aircraft alarms further down the page.

Other laws can be used during hightened state of alert

High alert gives the government more freedom to act and make different decisions, and other laws can be used in addition to those that apply in peacetime. For example, the state can take over private property needed for total defence. This may include buildings, transport and machinery.

Increased preparedness also means that municipalities and state authorities must adapt their organisation and activities to the special requirements that apply. Even if there are difficult conditions, the municipality, for example, is obliged to keep activities such as elderly care, schools and sanitation running.

Shelters during hightened state of alert and war

In Sweden, there are about 65 000 shelters with room for about seven million people. If the shelters need to be used in war or if the government has announced a state of high alert, the shelters must be able to be set up within two days.

Shelters are located in different types of buildings, such as residential and industrial buildings. You should immediately go to a shelter or other protective space if you hear the air raid alarm. The alarm consists of short bursts of sound lasting one minute.

Find your nearest shelter (MSB)

Emergency alarms and air raid alarm 

The outdoor warning system (also known as Hesa Fredrik) can be used for emergency alarms and air raid alarms if Sweden is at war. If you hear the emergency alarm, you should immediately go indoors and listen to Swedish Radio P4 to get more information. The signal will sound for 30 seconds, followed by a pause of 15 seconds, repeated for five minutes.

If the military defence detects an impending air attack, the air raid warning signal is used to warn the public. In case of an air raid alarm, you should immediately seek shelter in the nearest shelter or basement. The signal sounds in short bursts, two seconds at a time for one minute.

Read more about emergency warnings in Sweden