Using SMS Disaster Alert System Programming for Your Organization

A mobile phone showing an SMS disaster alert

When disaster strikes, time is of the essence. Reaching as many people as you can, as quickly as you can, is about something more important than a typical mass-marketing message—it’s about saving lives.

SMS disaster alert system programming offers the fastest, most reliable, and efficient option to date for getting the word out about an emergency situation. Not only are you more likely to be able to reach people on their cell phones via text than any other device or method of communication, but 98% of text messages are read within the first three minutes, ensuring you get eyes on your alerts—quickly.  

How SMS Disaster Alert System Programming Works

SMS disaster alert programming allows your organization to send mass texts to people who have opted-in to receive emergency notifications. When a critical situation arises, a system administrator can quickly compose a single message and send it to thousands, even millions, of users with the press of a button. You can also pre-compose messages that can be quickly reviewed and sent in the same manner. This can be especially useful if, for instance, your local area is prone to frequent flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

SMS disaster alerts can be used effectively:

  • As part of an early warning system to let users know as soon as possible when a situation might become critical—i.e., when meteorologists predict a tornado will imminently pass through the area.
  • During emergencies to keep your audience updated on important developments as the situation unfolds—i.e., reporting when a school lockdown has ended.
  • Immediately after disasters, to share vital information regarding the aftermath of a situation and where to get help if needed—i.e., sharing the locations of local relief centers once they are open.

SMS emergency alerts disseminate vital information quickly, concisely, and effectively, giving users as much time as possible to prepare or react as necessary.

Setting up an SMS Disaster Alert System

Implementing an SMS disaster alert system is not as complicated as it might sound.

First, if you haven’t already, you need to find an SMS messaging platform that will enable you to quickly and easily reach as many people as you need to. Look for features such as auto-responders to ensure no reply is left unanswered—even under overwhelming circumstances—and user groups so that your alerts are only ever sent to those users who would find them relevant. 

The ideal platform will be intuitively designed and easily set up, typically within a matter of minutes. If it’s not, this might be the first red flag that you’ll want to consider other options. Once your SMS disaster alert system programming is in place, you need to build a list of subscribers. Import any existing contacts and use webforms, advertisements, and more to invite new users to opt-in automatically by texting a keyword to a shortcode. This is as simple as asking people to “text ‘ALERTS’ to 12345” to opt-in. Be clear in your invitation about exactly what types of messages people can expect to receive, and how often, to help avoid any frustration and confusion later on.

Once you have your subscriber list and have separated users into different segments if necessary, all you have to do is type a single message and send it to whoever needs to receive it. Be sure to test your system from time to time and be clear about when you are running a test versus when you are sending an actual alert.

Reliable SMS Disaster Alert Systems Put Safety First

When someone signs up for SMS emergency alerts, they are trusting you to help them and their loved ones stay safe. They need to know they can rely on you to give them the information they need, when they need it, to allow them to take appropriate action. And, in order to do that, you need to know that you can rely on your SMS delivery platform to deliver that information promptly and reliably, every time.

That’s why the most critical piece of the SMS disaster alert system programming puzzle is choosing a quality, innovative SMS delivery platform and a provider you can trust to be there when you need them, just as you will be for your audience.

NorthText provides SMS disaster alert system programming and other text marketing solutions to organizations in a wide range of industries. To learn more about our platform, services, or how we can support your business or agency, call or text us anytime at (312) 869-9070.