Life-saving Tech

SMS alerts during emergencies

We once thought that the only life an SMS could save was a social life, and that looking to your phone in the middle of a bushfire would be about as useful as applying a layer of SPF, but we were wrong.

As the mercury rises Bondi lifeguards start to save beach goers from dangerous currents, police continue to remove festive drunk drivers from our roads and the seemingly ordinary SMS gets to work saving people from the ruthless fires that plague our bushlands every year.

The seemingly inescapable struggle of living in a land that is so lush and beautiful is that it also happens to be very hot and flammable. So, in preparation for what may be an aggressive fire season, the Australian Government will be using all the resources they have to ensure that people are kept safe. In particular, they will be utilising the most effective digital communication medium there is; the bulk SMS.

Related: How to send bulk SMS from your PC

If you find yourself in an area of high fire risk this summer, you may also find an SMS on your mobile phone from emergency services. This is a geographically targeted bulk SMS and it will give you a heads up about the risk, will suggest a course of action and will give you directions to find more information. Luckily, you don’t need to sign up to anything to receive the bulk SMS alert. The messages will be sent to anyone with a mobile phone registered to somewhere within the ‘at risk’ area, or phones that have recently been in, or are currently in the area.

While emergency services advise that individuals and businesses still have an emergency fire plan in place, and that they don’t wait to receive a message before action is taken, the ability to quickly send out hundreds or thousands of bulk SMS messages containing critical information, is a game changer for emergency alert systems.

However, this bulk SMS gateway technology is not only useful for fire risks. In the United States text messages can be sent out to alert people, within a targeted area, of an Amber alert or a matter of public emergency. The US President also has the power to send out bulk SMS messages to every single mobile phone in the country. Whether or not an SMS from Donald Trump would be appreciated by many, we are glad to see the bulk SMS taking off.

The SMS, however, is not the only mobile phone function helping people stay safe from natural disasters and other emergency situations this summer. The CFA Fire Ready app may be a vital tool for people in high fire risk areas. You can set up alerts to tell you when a fire is within a certain distance from you or your property, and allows users to visually monitor fires on a map. We recommend that anyone living in or near an area of bushfire risk download this app, and let technology help keep you safe this summer.