Modern technology is revolutionising how we communicate, and while email and social media direct messaging have overtaken voice calls for many of us as the preferred mode of “chatting” with others, there is no faster or more efficient, cost-effective way to touch base than via SMS.
One way that this is going to be the way of the future is within the emergency services, including Ambulance, Police, Fire Brigade, and even State Emergency Services. From bulk SMS to send alerts for widespread emergencies (e.g. natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, severe storms, as well as chemical spills, fallen electrical lines, etc) to using SMS to directly contact emergency services themselves, the future of using the SMS portal is evolving rapidly.
Text messaging for the emergency services is available in many nations worldwide in one way or another, currently and most specifically for the exclusive use of those who are speech- or hearing-impaired.
In the USA, it was mandated in 2017 that all wireless carriers must provide an option for texting the American emergency number 911. This allows for alerting emergency services with accurate GPS data availability, as well as increasing personal safety in cases where making a voice call for help may be unsafe for the caller (for example, in a domestic violence, active burglary, or hostage situation).
In Australia, 70% of calls to triple-0 are now made from mobile phones. At this point (October 2018), our emergency services hotline is exclusively voice-only (with the exception of a TTY service – textphone – or a computer with modem access for the hearing-impaired), however, a national workforce is looking into the feasibility of introducing a service for text to triple-0 within Australia.
Here’s some Triple Zero stat’s courtesy of the ACMA.
The Emergency+ app is fantastic and another voice-only option to contact emergency services, but we are passionate believers, and advocates, that SMS should also be an option.
According to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, as well as the state governments of Victoria and NSW, expanding the emergency services contact system from voice-only to SMS is the optimal way forward, providing increased public safety, improved response times, and complying with the changing expectations of our population. To achieve this, however, it will involve a significant investment on the part of Telstra in advanced infrastructure and employee training.
Here at ClickSend, as experts in the industry offering bulk SMS and an efficient SMS portal to a vast array of clients worldwide, we are excited to embrace technological advancements in the arena of SMS solutions. We will be watching what happens with SMS for emergency services in Australia with great interest.