Officials in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma recently announced a new mass text messaging notification system to help keep citizens better informed.

The program will alert the public of impending severe weather conditions, crisis notifications and other significant threats to public safety.

"This system enables public safety and emergency management personnel to provide critical information quickly in a wide range of situations," Shawn Smith, Pittsburg County 9-1-1 Director, told the McAlester News-Capital.

The new service goes online June 1. The county will be retiring their previous service in favor of the new one, which offers voice alerts to cell phone and land lines and notifications via email and social media to supplement the primary bulk SMS alert system.

Users can sign up through an opt-in online registration form or can contact country officials directly.

The News-Capital reports that the database also stores information on citizens with special and vulnerable needs, to help county personnel identify and better assist those with disabilities, medical, access or functional needs. During emergencies, text and voice inquires can sent to those residents to help quickly determine their required level of assistance.

"Public safety [officials] will be able to receive real-time responses from staff and citizens during an emergency," said Smith. She continued, saying that they can now send messages at a rate of more than 50,000 per minute with multilingual options through automated translation. 

Local authorities are realizing the value of bulk SMS as a means of quickly disseminating important information to help keep their citizens safe. Text messages are read quicker and more frequently than other message types. Developers can also realize the benefits of SMS for their businesses needs through Swift SMS Gateway's SMS API.