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How SMS can Enhance your Notifications in an Emergency

How SMS can Enhance your Notifications in an Emergency

April 20, 2018 Posted by in Business Continuity

In the case of a workplace emergency situation, SMS technology can be seriously beneficial for emergency communications. Whereas many other communications methods may be available, other technologies can prove unreliable in times of true crisis.

In cases of several emergency factors such as the weather or other types of emergency can render voice calls impossible as networks start to jam up or fail due to congestion. In this case, SMS messaging almost always continues to work. Emergency SMS solutions can further improve your chances of emergency communication, as they have been specifically set up to work during a crisis period.

In the case of a workplace emergency that is technology based, problems with hardware and other internal mechanisms can lead to major data losses, and lack of internet. This type of technical disruptions can make it impossible for a company to communicate clearly with its entire staff.

Luckily, in most cases SMS notifications will not be affected by internal hardware issues, leaving the emergency notification system up and running to save the day. Because SMS relies on an external network, it can be a real savior then it comes to disaster and crisis recovery.

Another benefit of SMS messaging is that they are sent out in real time and can quickly be composed in the face of an emergency. This means that when a crisis occurs, people can quickly log into the emergency SMS system and compose a message to be sent out immediately to as many staff and stakeholders as possible.

It’s important for all staff to follow some kind of policy or protocol when it comes to emergency it comes to emergency SMS messaging.

Here are some of the factors you may include to create your SMS messaging strategy in your business continuity plan.

Create A Chain of Command

When your business works on their crisis plan and starts to consider the recipients for emergency SMS messaging in times of a crisis, they can consider an employee chain of command. This will decide which key members of staff or stakeholders ‘Need to know’ the information that you are releasing, and when. Make sure you know who your most valued and trusted employees are when leaking sensitive information in times of a crisis or an emergency. Ensure that they receive the relevant crisis information first and foremost in the event of an emergency.

Establish Approval Policies for Emergency Messaging

When it comes to an emergency, it’s just as important to decide who can send a message using your emergency notification software, as who will receive one. Which staff members are trusted and sensible enough to be able to compose and disseminate a message to all other members of staff. Choose people that know how to keep their cool, won’t exaggerate, and will help to create calm and order amongst other staff in the event of an emergency or crisis.

Once you have designated responders in case of an emergency, make sure that all parties understand the serious nature of the emergency SMS software and procedures. It’s important that such software is only utilized in the face of a real-life emergency.

Language is Important

Does your company have specific language in place to announce or cope with an emergency situation? Do they have a list of codewords that can be send to certain key members of staff in order to pacify an emergency? If not it’s important to craft the messaging correctly when sending an emergency SMS notification. You want to nullify an emergency and spread word without causing unnecessary panic amongst employees.

How Often Will You Communicate

Due to the nature of an emergency situation, a business may not have all the information needed when they start to utilize their emergency SMS notification system. Will a simple text message suffice asking employees to reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ if they may need assistance or not?

When you create your crisis plan, it’s important to decide how often you will send out information using your emergency SMS system. Will you be texting out information as soon as it becomes available? Or will you be waiting for clarification to ensure that all information is correct and you don’t accidently cause a panic amongst staff? Who will be sending out this information? Can they be trusted to communicate clearly and professionally with all of your staff?

Use Templates and Practice

You can use template messages into your emergency SMS notification system in case panic takes over whoever is qualified to use the system in the event of an emergency. Sometimes people can freeze up with panic, they may be afraid or they may not know exactly what to say. Having a bank of prepared messages can make it easier for people to choose the correct message to send out quickly and efficiently to pre-defined audiences.

It’s also crucial to send out some practice messages when you have your emergency SMS notification system installed. This will firstly ensure that the software is installed properly and that people are actually receiving the emergency messages. It will also ensure that all staff can use the software and are confident with how to send and reply to messages when a real emergency situation occurs.

Ways in which emergency SMS notifications can be used

Emergency SMS messages can be used for a number of reasons including:

  • Communicating with off-site employees
  • Surveys
  • Meeting Reminders
  • Emergencies and Closures
  • Shift Changes
  • Polling and Planning

They are an important part of any businesses communication plan as they ensure that the correct information reaches the right people at the right time.

People are often happy to receive an SMS rather than an email or a phone call, as they are unobtrusive and seen as trustworthy by many people across the working world. A text message can save a life, so it’s important to consider utilizing emergency SMS communication systems for your business in case of a crisis.

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