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Emergency Alerts: Getting the message out

When disaster strikes you need to be able to communicate quickly and reliably, maximising your chances of the message being read. Here's why SMS is still the best for emergency alerts.

Emergency Alerts: Getting the message out

Whether you choose to call it emergency planning, businesses continuity, or just plain common sense: any business with a significant number of staff and customers needs the ability to react swiftly to any unexpected event.

System outages, dramatic weather events, political upheavals, and health emergencies such as Ebola and Covid-19 are circumstances where SMS alerts can play a role.

Email and social media are great for communications that aren’t time-sensitive, but…  SMS continues to be the best and most ubiquitous messaging platform.”

Púca: 3 Reasons why SMS is still the best solution for Alerts.

HR and Business Continuity alerts

Sectors including insurance, retail, hospitality, banking and so on are all taking advantage of SMS notifications to keep staff and customers informed, mitigate the effects of a crisis and get organised at short notice.

Crisis alerts for business: 6 use cases

  1. Reschedule appointments
  2. Arrange crisis meetings
  3. Communicate safety information
  4. Notify of alternative delivery methods
  5. Inform if email or phones are down
  6. Send alternative contact information

Public health initiatives

In the past 5 years most hospitals and clinics in Europe have adopted SMS for patient appointment confirmations as outlined in this feature from the Púca archives, with the aim of reducing “Do not attends” also known as DNAs. Conversely, in the case of an outbreak such as Covid-9, patients can be told to stay away if there has been a suspected case – and SMS is ideal to get the message out at short notice.

Following proven successes for SMS disease notifications in Kenya, the global Early Warning and Response System (EWARS) project is a World Health Organisation initiative to catch and monitor disease outbreaks early on to be able to contain them in emergencies and SMS plays a key role.

“If the reports trigger an alert or notification, an SMS will be sent back to the phone to allow immediate public health action. This can prompt an outbreak investigation and the collection of laboratory samples, to confirm if a disease outbreak is present or not”. (WHO)

SMS is also useful for inbound emergency alerts, as outlined in this case study on the BT ECAS emergency 112 SMS service for the deaf and hard of hearing.

SMS Benefits round-up:

  1. SMS is quick to set up and send
  2. Cut-through: 98% of all text messages will be read
  3. 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes
  4. SMS is ubiquitous (everyone has it) and accessible
  5. Unlike push notifications it is “always on”

A good enterprise SMS platform like Impower™ will give you and your team the ability to store message templates and set up mass alerts quickly from either your PC or your smartphone. You can track in real time if messages have been opened and read, and also receive and view inbound text messages. If you have systems that handle the notifications but need to integrate SMS then ask about an API solution for bulk messaging.

So don’t just wait for the unexpected – be prepared by including SMS in your communications toolkit.


Is SMS the solution to unnecessary healthcare sector costs?

Is SMS the solution to unnecessary healthcare sector costs?

January, 8th 2015

Integrating SMS into healthcare can benefit DNA’s (Did Not Attend). According to the HSE, there were more than 62,000 DNA’s in Cork and Kerry with an estimated total cost at €44.5 million per year.

How to “impower” your team with multi-user SMS

How to “impower” your team with multi-user SMS

October, 10th 2019

Contact centres and teams face some unique communication challenges - particularly around access controls and permissions. Our latest SMS platform release is designed to meet these head-on.


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