In an emergency situation, what's the best way to get hold of your stakeholders, fast? For real-time communication, it's SMS.

Emails often get overlooked, especially in a crowded inbox and contacting everyone via phone call would take a long time to carry out, with many likely to end up going to voicemail. Meanwhile, application-specific messaging like WhatsApp offers speed, but it's not likely that everyone uses it, despite its popularity, and these types of applications are not pre-installed on mobile phones. To effectively alert others of an emergency, you'll need a solution that's both quick and reachable.

That's where SMS comes in as a prime channel for emergency alert communications.

SMS text alerts prove to be a great contact option for emergency situations as high levels of throughput allow for instant message delivery to thousands of recipients without the need for an internet connection, or third-party application.

What is an Emergency SMS Alert System?

SMS text messaging is quickly becoming a prime communications channel for critical alert broadcast platforms and is currently getting integrated into many existing communications suites alongside traditional channels like automated voice response, email, and public address systems. With lock screen text notifications, pop-up notifications and messages in the notification center, SMS texts are incredibly reachable and difficult for mobile phone users to overlook.

Emergency Situations for SMS Alerts

Emergency SMS alert systems are used to communicate critical information to employees and other stakeholders, immediately notifying them of a potentially imminent threat. Here are some situations where an emergency notification may be required.

Severe Weather and Natural Disasters
Sudden and extreme changes to weather conditions, such as tornados, earthquakes or hurricanes, can put many lives at risk. By linking your SMS alerts to a weather warning app with an API, you can notify your teams about the dangers as soon as possible.

Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent each year, according to Check Point Research, so if your company falls victim, every second counts. It's important to enhance your operational resilience by utilizing real-time SMS text message alerts to streamline communication methods, making sure you immediately get in contact with the relevant teams once a threat is identified.

Violent Threats
In the event of a bomb threat, active shooter or other violent threat on-premises, immediate communication is imperative to saving lives. Text message reachability becomes crucial in these moments as teams are made aware and given guidance on how to respond.

Benefits of an Emergency SMS Alert System

Critical message broadcasting is incredibly beneficial for both the company and the staff. Here are some key benefits of a text message alert system when faced with an emergency situation.

Prevents Panic
When faced with an emergency, it's not uncommon for people to panic — but that's the last thing you want in these situations. The speedy nature of text messaging means staff and stakeholders will be notified and provided with guidance before panic starts to spread. Regular updates will also help to reduce uncertainty and agitation, therefore maintaining a calm environment.

Creates Clarity
Being able to broadcast notifications to a large amount of people while providing specific details will help to create clarity among crowds — and keep everyone in the loop. Incorporating pre-written texts can help to streamline the communication process and eliminate the need to format and select precise wording for emergency SMS in a tense environment. Instead, times, locations and other important details can be input into pre-prepared templates.

Advanced Accessibility
With an estimated 6.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, per Statista, it's safe to say that everyone in your company is contactable via SMS because it is native to every smartphone globally. But that's not the only reason it's accessible. Unlike speaker-fed public service announcements, those with sensory disabilities, such as deafness, can receive text message information. And with text-to-speech capabilities, those with visual impairments can also receive an emergency message.  

Organizing Capabilities
If you can gather contact information from volunteers who are willing to help in an emergency situation, then you'll be able to assign them specific duties in an emergency. For example, in the event of a fire, volunteers could work together to clearly establish the nearest exit routes for their team.  

Examples of SMS Emergency Alerts

To get a better understanding of how SMS emergency alerts can be utilized, automated and appropriately worded, here are a few text message examples and tips for best practices:

Fire Alert
ALERT: Fire alarm activated in [area/building location].
Emergency services have been notified. Please calmly evacuate the premises to assembly point [letter/number] and follow instructions given by authorities.

Tip: Information within the text messages can be automated, which allows you to allocate specific instructions to certain cell phone numbers. For example, all members of staff based in "Building A" are assigned to "Assembly Point 1". Be sure to explore automation capabilities when implementing an SMS emergency alert system.

Weather Alert
Dangerous [weather circumstances] detected near your area. [Company] operations are suspended for the time being. Please stay tuned for any important updates.

Tip: Be clear, concise and provide guidance for your recipients. Ensure your emergency alert doesn't just notify users of the situation, but also makes them aware of how the circumstances affects them. In this instance, all recipients were notified of the suspension of operations.

Be Prepared

When it comes to emergencies, you want to make sure you're prepared. If you're looking for a reliable and robust platform to build an SMS alert system for emergency management, then Swift SMS Gateway can help. Our experts are on hand to help find the best automated alert solutions for you. Put our services to the test by getting in touch or signing up for a free demo.