Following the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, increasing the level of student safety became the number one priority for nearly every school across the country. Thankfully, these efforts were supported by advancements in technology that occurred around the same time. By the end of the 2000s, nearly every student had a mobile phone, most had smartphones and everyone was able to send and receive SMS text messages.
Earlier this month, a shooting at Texas A&M rocked the nation, as it was the latest in a disturbing series of gun-related incidents this summer. However, authorities say many lives were saved due to quick actions made by police officers and officials who sent out bulk SMS emergency texts to people in the area.
According to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) many schools have implemented a service that allows students and faculty members to register their cell phone numbers so they can receive a text message in the event of an emergency. Texas A&M was one of these schools.
An NCEF spokesperson told Reuters that Texas A&M's service was designed with the understanding that students may use multiple devices, and alerts are intended to reach every one.
"Most school text alert systems, like the one used in the Texas A&M shooting, send simultaneous messages via multiple electronic means. This redundancy is essential in making sure everyone gets the message," the spokesman said.
While reaching out to a multitude of devices is essential, studies show that these warnings will most likely be read via text message on a mobile phone. Implementing SMS into any alert system is essential as it increases the likelihood of messages being read and goes a long way to promote safety. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch a similar program.