09. 12. 2017

More Than Marketing: How SMS Messages Helped Save Lives During Hurricane Harvey

During the early days of Hurricane Harvey, Textedly had the opportunity to donate our services and set up several mass texting plans for different volunteer rescue organizations all free of charge.

We know that companies that mass-text can help them to better market, or improve their appointment response rates, and even enhance their internal communication and coordination.

This time the use case was very different: There were people in danger on the receiving end of these mass text messages.

Walking a team though their first outbound message on screenshare, our Customer Success Manager - Kelly was witness to the almost instant, replies of “safe,” “we’re OK,” “all good, thanks” and breathed a sigh of relief with each and every one of them. There were others that said “help us, please” to which the team of young volunteers responded, “Send us your GPS location,” and immediately went into action coordinating their rescue.

You see so much press about the dangers of texting while driving that you forget that in these types of circumstances, texting can save lives. This team had both lists of people that were provided through a website, by either the flood victims, themselves or loved ones, searching for information and support. Additionally, they began an outbound effort to connect with others in need.

Posting on websites and social media, announcing on radio and television, and blasting from megaphones in flood-ridden areas, “If you are in need of assistance please text RESCUE to 33222.” With plans to add “If you need information please text INFO to 33222,” and “If you need supplies text SUPPLIES to 33222.” People could text in, and be connected, in a time when that very connection was critical to their personal safety, and peace of mind.

      

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People could text in, and be connected, in a time when that very connection was critical to their personal safety, and peace of mind.  Each message could save a life, provide GPS location for a rescue, connect a victim with a shelter or supplies, help locate loved ones, endless possibilities of outcomes, all welcomed in a natural disaster of such horrific proportions.

Being prepared for a natural disaster means having a plan. A plan to evacuate or to shelter in place, knowledge of local shelters, a plan for emergency power, food and water, and ways to stay in contact with family and loved ones.

Consider setting up a mass texting plan for family, friends, coworkers, or clients as a part of your preparations to stay as safe as possible in the event of a natural disaster. With one click your message can be sent to everyone on your contact list, through an easy to use, web-based dashboard and replies will be received to your inbox.

The scope of the tragedy in Texas hit home at Textedly, where we were able to connect volunteers and rescuers over a broad expanse of space in real-time with heightened urgency. Often emergency circuits are too overloaded for phone calls, but rarely for a text message.  

The emergency plans we offered to volunteers and rescuers are scalable for families, businesses and organizations. We urge people to be zealously proactive. Gather your lists of number, set up a texting plan, and be prepared.  Stay safe, love and protect one another!