The nation held its collective breath and prayed for the safety of the faculty and students at the University of Texas on Friday morning, as reportings of a bomb scare reached news outlets around the country. Thankfully, the incident was a hoax and no one was hurt, but many are saying the University should use the incident as a learning experience and adjust its emergency broadcast policies, particularly those concerning text alerts.
According to an article in the Daily Texan, the school sent out a text alert around 9:50 a.m., roughly 75 minutes after University officials were aware of the threat. The school used a text alert service to send a message to student's phones, telling them to evacuate the campus. Many are now upset, stating that the alert was sent too long after the threat was made and, had there actually been a bomb, the indecisiveness could have put everyone in danger.
"I think 9:50 a.m. was way too late to decide they were going to evacuate," said Daniel Cortte, a freshman at the University.
According to University of Texas Police Department chief Robert Dahlstrom, the threat stated that bombs were going to go off around 10:05 a.m. Had this happened, the students would have been given a window of only 15 minutes to evacuate the campus, even though the threat had been received 90 minutes before the text messages were sent.
This underlines the importance of finding a valuable emergency text service. In these situations, officials must not only relay important information, but they must do so in a timely manner. The school is fortunate that no such incident took place, but next time they may not be so lucky. Organizations looking to improve the efficiency of their emergency broadcasting efforts should look into an SMS services provider. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools to send powerful messages to a large number of people in a short amount of time.