An important piece of keeping family, friends, and the community safe during natural disasters is communication.
The unpredictability of natural disasters like Hurricane Florence has caused devastation to communities all across the nation. But, some of the damage could have been mitigated if open lines of communication were available to the public.
This would include effectively alerting individuals of an incoming natural disaster, telling them where they can seek shelter, and disaster preparedness measures to take before they evacuate. SMS text messages offer an effective way to keep people safe and aid in mitigating how much damage is done.
Because 91% of texts are read within 3 minutes of delivery, text messaging has become the go-to way to alert entire communities about natural disasters.
Here are five ways texting can help both before and after disasters happen:
Share Disaster Planning Updates
Your best bet at mitigating damages during a natural disaster is by providing the public with updates on how you plan to handle disasters well ahead of time.
Texting has a 98% read rate, so mass messaging your entire contact database guarantees that your audience is informed of crucial steps to take whenever a new disaster strikes. You can send your subscribers updates periodically to let them know of new policies or contingencies in order to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Knowing where to go when a disaster strikes can be the difference between safety and possible injury. A church in Beaumont, Texas used Trumpia to share refuge locations with its congregation via text. As a result, it’s members were able to reach a safe place and weather the storm of Hurricane Harvey.
Rally Your Community with Text Messaging
A natural disaster can cause billions of dollars in damages, which can leave a community in shock for months to come. The estimated cost of Hurricane Harvey alone is about $190 billion, and Florence is expected to be upwards of $22 billion.
During Hurricane Season it is natural for communities to rally together in order to help each other weather the storm. Texting is the perfect way for community organizers to coordinate relief efforts at both a state and local level.
A lengthy donation process could be the difference between a donation and a missed opportunity. Collecting donations needs to be a simple process, that’s why using text to donate methods are so effective.
The American Red Cross is a great example of a relief organization using text to donate, where they advertised the keyword “REDCROSS”, allowing the public to quickly donate $10 by sending a single text keyword.
Shoe Station, Inc., one of Trumpia’s customers, found a very creative way of organizing a donation drive. They sent a text to their message subscribers in four separate cities in Alabama and Mississippi, announcing they will be collecting lightly worn shoes to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. As a result, Shoe Station, Inc. collected over 800 pairs of shoes between four stores and were able to provide them to relief organizations.
Send Critical Alerts During Natural Disasters
When a natural disaster is expected to strike your area, the best way to minimize damage and keep the public safe is by informing them through text alerts. Studies show that texts are 10x quicker and more efficient than phone calls.
And with texting, you can reach hundreds or thousands of people at the same time, instead of one at a time with phone calls.
With mobile keywords, such as “GETHELP”, you can have members of your community opt-in to your critical alerts and relief campaigns in order to receive community alerts whenever a natural disaster is expected to strike.
To target specific areas that are affected by disasters, you can set up multiple keywords for each area to create distribution lists. That way if a certain location experiences a disaster, you will send messages only to affected individuals.
Maintain Communication When Other Methods Fail
During an earthquake, tornado, or flood it’s very likely that phone and power lines can be downed, which can hinder or cut off communications.
According to The New York Times, text messaging does “not seem to be affected to the same degree" as traditional methods are during a natural disaster. This is because texting using much less data than a phone call, which reduces the amount of interruptions and improves communication and increase Hurricane Emergency Preparedness.
Communicate with Loved Ones Quickly
A natural disaster can separate families no matter how prepared they are. We all want to connect with your family and friends during an emergency to let them know you are safe, but often phone lines or email could be down.
Texting is often the last form of communication to go down, so it lets you reach your loved ones to keep them updated, especially during cell tower disruption where voice calls may be impossible. Plus the more people that are able to communicate with their families through text, the less traffic phone towers will have, which helps keep a line of communication open for a larger portion of the community.
Are you looking to learn more about how texting can help with disaster relief? Click here to talk to one of our experts today!