Getting help by calling 911 is now standard practice for most people in North America. Beginning with the first 911 call on February 16, 1968, made in Haleyville, Alabama, the 911 Emergency System has expanded to now include coverage for 95% of the population of the United States and 95% of the land mass.
Without a doubt, the 911 standardized emergency telephone service has become an integral part of the delivery of safety and security for all citizens. It is only a matter of time for the 911 System to expand to include SMS Emergency Alerts
Advancement of SMS Service
With what it seems as lightning speed advancements in technology, it is only inevitable that the 911 Emergency Call System would expand to include the opportunity to send SMS text message alerts.
The initiative to include SMS emergency alerts is a new feature that presently has limited access to standard 911 Emergency Services. But, this is all about to change.
In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, issued an order to direct all cell phone providers in the USA to implement the requirements to enable SMS text message alerts. This option is to be fully implemented in 2015; however, the FCC suggests that a text-messaging alert should only be considered a complement to voice calling, with voice calling always being the preferred option.
Expansion of SMS Text Messaging Alerts
SMS alerts solutions have now become a realistic and effective communication channel for a plethora of uses. As described above, the FCC is mandating cell phone carriers to implement text messaging alerts into the 911 Emergency System and there are numerous companies that provide personal emergency alert services. Below are a few examples of how emergency alert services have been implemented.
The original emergency alert system in a hospital was what we typically heard; “Code 1 to Room 101” or “Dr. Who, is required immediately in Emergency.” That was followed by extensive use of pager systems that allowed for messaging, albeit, in many cases, the systems were not instantaneous.
Now with Smartphone technology, SMS emergency alerts can be sent instantaneously, and with the appropriate packaging, can be sent to a number of people at the same time. There is no more having to enter each number into the telephone SMS system. Patients simply have to text a keyword to the hospital short code to opt into the program and they will be able to receive hospital notifications and alerts.The response time is immediate, and can be two-way, allowing for much better communications and effective actions. Also, the ability to use keywords instead of one general number allows hospitals to setup different routing options and different programs for each department, each doctor or each facility. This ensures direct routing and quicker response time, which makes a big difference and may save lives.
Emergency Service Use for Other organizations
SMS Emergency alerts have become a common practice for internal communication within organizations. When e-mail and internal network systems are down, text alerts have become a reliable communication source. In order to opt in to such program, HR and IT departments ask their employees to text in a keyword to a short code. Example: Text EMERGENCY to 12345. This will ensure employees are in the system and can receive text message emergency alerts.
SMS alerts have become a common practice in the commercial arena but this is not the only use for such notifications. In hospitals and other emergency situations, SMS alerts are providing a reliable and direct communication and response time that is becoming a vital solution for organizations of all sizes. Give SMS text message alert systems a try and see how it works for you.