Emergency SMS and natural disasters

Topic: Communication, Guides, Uses of SMS

Floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, thunderstorms, damaging hail stones, torrential rains, destructive winds… the threat from natural disasters appears to be growing around the globe. But countries are increasingly working on ways to warn people in case of an emergency through SMS. Find out how.As the summer approaches in Australia, there are numerous and severe weather conditions that can cause havoc and be a threat to the well-being of people and their belongings.To help, a commission of enquiry is seeking for an emergency SMS system to be put in place so that Australians can be better prepared for natural disasters. By using SMS and mobile telephone technology, the system will aim to alert people when dangerous weather conditions are approaching.SMS alerts in demandSince the floods and the cyclone hit Queensland earlier this year, the demand for these SMS emergency warnings has increased considerably. Local councils, such as Brisbane and Townsville, are already offering this service to all citizens who register, so that they can receive official warnings in case of critical weather.The use of these SMS alerts in cases of natural disasters by local and government authorities has not gone unnoticed by private companies too though, with many having launched their own kind of service too. The Australian Early Warning Network is just one of them, providing a multi-channel alerts service, with mobile phones as the main way of communication through fast and direct SMS.All these services monitor the weather and if they detect that particularly dangerous weather may affect a specific region they send SMS alerts to registered users within that area. Once the text message is read, those who receive a text message alert are provided with some extra time to prepare for the weather, get their houses ready for the event and in if necessary evacuate.SMS emergency warningThe specific characteristics of SMS text messages makes them the best way of communication in the complex and ever-changing situation experienced during and immediately after a natural disaster.Haiti, Japan, New Zealand… Many countries have been recently hit by earthquakes or tsunamis, which can be among the most devastating of all natural disasters.The effectiveness of bulk SMS when a natural disaster such as this strikes can be truly life-saving, offering hope and information to those suffering.

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