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Setting Up an Automated SMS Notification System for Citizen Emergency Mass Notification


As more municipalities move to automated citizen notification systems, it is important to consider best practices for implementation. An automated citizen SMS notification system can be a valuable tool for emergency management and public safety officials. When used correctly, it can help to keep the public informed and safe in the event of an emergency. 

Citizen Emergency Mass Notification (CEMN) systems are used by emergency management agencies to disseminate information to the public during an emergency. A CEMN system can send out thousands of messages per minute and is a critical tool for emergency managers.

While automated notification systems are essential for emergency management, they can be complicated to set up. However, there are a few best practices that should be followed in order to ensure that the system is set up and used effectively.

Let's explore some of the key considerations for setting up an effective and efficient automated SMS notification system...

Text messages should be kept short

Text messages are used as a primary source of information and communication by most people who own mobile phones. And with 95 percent of Americans confirmed to own cell phones, text messages are no doubt an effective and convenient means to reach as many people instantly during a crisis. Due to the speed involved here, mass text messages can reach many citizens before rumors spread on social media or before the media begins reporting.

Mass text messages should always be precise and concise. They should include things like:

  • Connecting citizens with additional resources such as including a hotline number or using a link shortener service to link people to a page for more information. Shortlinks such as Google or Bit.ly suffice.

  • Texts with facts of need-to-know: some vital information could be what, when, where, how, and who.

Broaden the reach of automated voice messages

Automated voice calls are another excellent tool for emergency notification. People tend to do more with voice calls than text. And depending on the system, voice calls can provide live-interaction capabilities, which would allow the system to ask questions and receive answers in real-time. This provides the operator with information they may not have when using automated text messages.

While using automated text messages is an essential feature of a CEMN system, adding automated voice calls or an interactive voicemail component to the message center is also advisable.

Medium-length alerts can utilize email messaging

If you want to send a message to a longer group, sending an email can be more effective than sending a text or automated voice call. An email allows users to provide more information than they would have time to include in 1-2 minutes of an automated text or verbal message.

Emails provide the option of attaching supporting documents like maps, photos, and videos. This provides people with all the information they need in one short email.

Monitor messages you push to social media

Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become extremely popular for communicating with the public during emergencies. It is important to monitor social media outlets for mentions of your message in order to gauge what people are saying about the issue.

If you see misspelled words or incorrect information, make sure you correct it before your push it out to the masses. As a warning, if your department publicizes critical information on social media, you will have to stay on top of it and consistently engage with your community. Make sure that while you push out messages on social media, your team is also monitoring them to ensure they are being received accurately.

Let HipLink help you set up a mass automated SMS notification system today!

Developing and implementing an effective automated mass SMS notification system is not easy. HipLink can provide one-to-one messaging and mass messaging services, as well as integrations based on reverse 911 standards, full IPAWS/FEMA integration, as well an easy-to-use and customizable system so as to reach as many people as possible.

With our extensive experience in the field of automated mass SMS notifications, we are able to create a fully functional system using the existing text messaging infrastructure. HipLink will set up your automated mass SMS notification system and keep it up and running while ensuring that it keeps all messages flowing properly.

To learn more about how HipLink helps organizations and governments communicate on a mass scale, try HipLink for free today.

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