SMS Alert system has afforded the mobile industry, emergency response team, disaster-risk management teams as well as the government the opportunity to establish an effective alert system. Recent studies continue to evaluate the power of a nationwide alert system as the preferred solution in disseminating a wide-array of information.
The use of SMS templates aid responders in creating alert messages. Templates can provide useful guides with simple content with definite or concrete steps to take. The need to create clear, concise and useful messages for the SMS Alert system was deemed necessary to avoid the public to panic if the message they receive were unclear. In terms of public inquiries, it is vital that up-to-date information as well as pre-prepared advice that can possibly be tailored fit depending on the nature of incident.
Trigger points were identified in different instances where the activation of an SMS alert system can be used for both man-made and natural events. Man-made events are classified like risks to human life, not only the victim or the patient but also everyone who is in the same geographical location who could be affected by the event. Also, threat to severe damages to properties and belongings are also strong consideration in issuing a warning sign. For natural occurrences or those under natural events such as rising tide, explosions and severe flooding require a more intense and complicated process in terms of the issuing as well as acting on the warning message.
Responders agreed that SMS Alert system might lose its impact if its regularly used. It was identified that for low-risk incidents other channels can be tapped to address them rather than relying on SMS. Hence, according to some test runs, the system must be used solely on situations that are a matter of life and death or where there are opportunities for people to take some precautionary or protective actions.
Ideally the activation of the SMS-alert system is relegated to the Police, given the nature of their 24/7 availability they are in the best position to man the command and control room. They are also most responsible for the coordination. Then from the Police posts, depending on their location, the warning signs would be disseminated to the proper channel based on geographical location.
For every SMS, a notification is sent to a designated monitoring center or department. The SMS Alert system then transfers the SMS to the assigned institution responsible in solving the issue. This is where the classification of the manmade and natural incidents comes into play. In order to establish a clearer system use, frequency of messaging is very important. It is deemed that upon the sending of a message or notification, it is important for the public to receive regular updates. Such frequency applies heavily on natural occurrences or incidents that requires mass notifications. The need for update is at the expense of the public’s expectations to receive further information, especially if the prevailing circumstance would require protective action. Immediately after four hours, the expected notification will be more detailed protocol on the next steps that needs to be done.
SMS Alert system is still being improved over the course of trial and error. Ideally the system sends messages within 15 minutes of as one user/responder access the system. This 15 minute-system is continuously being improved with factors such as the size of messages as well as the handsets available in an area. Another consideration would be geographical challenges, there were debates if warning signs are issued solely on the affected areas or region or should be spread nationally. At the very least, SMS Alert system is already getting the upper hand in terms of its effectivity, at this point, there are more to expect for this highly engaging and instantaneous solution in issuing warning signs be it man-made or naturally occurring events.