When it comes to keeping family, friends, and the community safe during natural disasters, the most important tool is communication. The unpredictability of natural disasters causes devastation in communities that are unprepared, but this can be mitigated if individuals are informed prior to impact. Being able to alert individuals of an incoming natural disaster can be an effective way to keep people safe and mitigate how much damage is done.
Because 91% of SMS are read within 3 minutes, text messaging is an invaluable tool for providing critical alerts at a moment's notice during disastrous situations. Here are five ways texting can help both before and after disasters happen:
Share Natural Disaster Contingency Plans
Your best bet at mitigating damages during a natural disaster is by providing the public with a disaster contingency plan. Texting has a 98% read rate, so sharing this with your entire contact database guarantees that your audience is informed of crucial steps to take whenever a specific disaster strikes. You can send monthly updates and reminders to refresh your audience and gain the highest level of effectiveness.
Knowing where to go when a disaster strikes could be the deciding factor towards being safe. Utilizing Trumpia’s SMS software, a church organization located in Beaumont, Texas was able 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.
Donations and Disaster Relief
A natural disaster can cause billions of dollars in damages, which can leave a community in rubble for months to come. The estimated cost of Hurricane Harvey alone is about $190 billion. Generally, everyone wants to help communities in natural disasters, and texting allows donors to make the largest impact.
Text to donate is one of the primary methods of collecting donations on the go. RedCross is a key example of effective text donations, where they advertised the keyword “REDCROSS” and enabled the public to quickly donate $10 by sending a single text. A lengthy donation process could be the difference between a donation and a missed opportunity. Many nonprofits are worried about “donor fatigue”, so streamlining the donation process allows organizations to motivate donor to continue providing aid to those affected and quickly collect donations.
Shoe Station, Inc., a current user of Trumpia’s SMS software, found a very creative way of providing Hurricane Relief. 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. One store alone was able to collect 15 cases of shoes that fit upwards of 40 pairs per case. As a result, Shoe Station, Inc. collected over 800 pairs of shoes between four stores and sent them to hurricane victims.
Send Critical Alerts During Natural Disasters
If a natural disaster is expected to strike, the best way to minimize damages and keep the public safe is by informing them through a quick text alert. Studies show that texts are 10x quicker than phone calls. And with texting, you can contact multiple individuals simultaneously, something phone calls can’t do.
Utilizing mobile keywords, such as “HURRICANE”, you can have members of your community opt-in to your critical alerts campaign and automatically receive alerts whenever a natural disaster strikes. 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.
For hurricane relief services and nonprofits trying to lend a helping hand, Trumpia is running a campaign called Trumpia Cares. We will provide free text messaging accounts and message credits to any organization providing disaster relief services. This enables these organizations to communicate more effectively to make a bigger impact, whether it’s sending critical alerts or collecting donations.
Consistent Emergency Communication During Disasters
What catches most individuals off guard during an earthquake, tornado, or flood is phone and power lines are often downed, which can hinder or cut off communications. Luckily, there is still a mobile alternative that is often available: Texting! 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 during natural disasters.
Communicate with Family
A natural disaster can tear families apart when they need each other the most. It’s important to reconnect with your family and friends to let them know you’re safe. Utilize two-way texting to have a personal conversation with loved ones to keep them updated, even during cell tower disruption. 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 consistent communication for everyone.
A natural disaster can turn someone’s world upside down in seconds, but texting can help get victims back on their feet. Click here to learn more.