A Simple Explanation of How a Text Alert System Works
In order to use an emergency text alert system, two items are necessary – a platform from which emergency messages are sent, and a database of contacts. Acquiring access to a platform is straightforward. A system administrator contacts a system provider (for example Rave Mobile Safety) and is issued with log-in credentials for the system provider´s platform (our platform is “Rave Alert”).
The database of contacts can be populated using two methods. System administrators can integrate Rave Alert with an existing database of contacts – for example a Student Information System – or use a text-based “Opt-In/Opt-Out” facility similar to how retailers run their SMS marketing campaigns (for example, text “join” to 123456 to opt in, and “stop” to 123456 to opt out).
Then, when an emergency occurs, the system administrator logs into the Rave Alert platform, writes their warning message, selects that everyone in the database should receive it by SMS text and clicks send. Due to the immediacy of SMS texting, contacts should receive the message within minutes – warning them to the risk of danger and potentially saving lives.
Further Functions of an Emergency Text Alert System
If the simple explanation above covered every function of an emergency text alert system, it would be considered an effective system. No special technical skills are required to operate the system and – as SMS texting facilitates two-way communication – contacts seeking assistance, further information or updates on the emergency situation have a dedicated point of contact.
However, an emergency text alert system is capable of much more. When an administrator sets up an account with Rave Mobile Safety, we create a branded web portal for the community, business, school or other organization. Contacts can access the web portal to add further details about themselves – such as land line numbers, email addresses, preferred language of communication and special needs.
As Rave Alert is not an SMS-exclusive emergency text alert system, warning messages can be sent via a variety of communication channels (voice broadcasts, email, RSS, CAP, Alertus, social media, etc.) to maximize the reach of the system. The Rave Alert platform auto-translates messages into contacts´ preferred language, while those with special needs are flagged to first responders.
Using Rave Alert for Non-Emergency Situations
Rave Alert can also be used to share information with contacts who will find the information of value. In communities, businesses and schools, Rave Alert could be used to (say) advise residents of road closures, advise employees of vacancies, or advise students of extra-curricular activities. In order to best use Rave Alert for non-emergency situations, it is advisable to use the group messaging facility.
The group messaging facility allows contacts to be placed into groups according to administrator-determined parameters such as their location, role or special interests. The grouping of contacts can be performed at administrator level or by the contacts themselves via the branded web portal. It is also possible to opt into groups by texting specially-assigned keywords to the Rave Alert short code number.
Sorting a database into groups ensures that contacts only receive non-emergency messages that are of interest to them. Contacts can belong to multiple groups simultaneously or simply remain in the general pool if they have no desire to receive targeted messages. This option prevents the scenario in which contacts opt out of the emergency text alert system due to receiving too many non-emergency messages that are of no relevance to them.