It is an irrefutable fact that 2-1-1 has become an essential service. The calling for 211 ACT (which would enable 2-1-1 to receive government funding) is a crucial next step toward long-term sustainability. It is incumbent upon 2-1-1 Contact Centers to make themselves more relevant and valuable to the communities they serve, particularly as communication needs evolve.
Americans under 55 are now texting more than they make voice calls. Gen-Y has come to expect social services be available through multiple channels. According to a recent article in Mashable, Millennials own an average of 2.5 web-enabled devices and chances are, they are texting on all of them. For reaching individuals, regional groups and specific priority groups, there is nothing more effective than text.
When phones are down, or over-burdened, text is the only communication channel that survives during disasters. The very elements that comprise a text are, by nature, resilient. In fact, SMS was first developed to help the Armed Services communicate in a safer, more secure manner in war-torn regions where communication infrastructure is compromised. During moments when every second counts, mobile phones are helping keep us all safer. Text based alerts offer the quickest, most efficient method for getting short bursts of information to entire communities in seconds.
2-1-1 has expanded into nearly every community in the US making the 211 network ideally suited for text message based alerts and resource provisioning. In the US, the use of SMS during times of catastrophe or natural disaster has proven to have an incredible impact. “Phone lines, fax, and electricity could fail and the only tool you can use is your cell phone ,” said Safe America Foundation Spokesperson, Carla Shaw. For example, during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast of the United States, SMS was the only mechanism available for much of the country to contact those in the affected areas, due to the small amount of data that is required to send a text message. SMS messages are inexpensive and easy-to-use and in recent years the mobile phones that are needed for sending and receiving them have become ubiquitous. Homeland Security published an article in 2010, “The Unprecedented Role of SMS in Disaster Response,” where they pose the question, “what if we could communicate with disaster-affected communities in real-time just days after a major disaster like the quake in Haiti?”
With 898211, the 2-1-1 network has that capacity now. 2-1-1 contact centers are uniquely positioned and skilled to provide this level of service to the communities they serve. What would 2-1-1 Based Text Alerts mean to government agencies like Homeland Security and CDC? Is the case for passing the 2-1-1 ACT strengthened with 2-1-1's capacity and reach to provide first alerts to disaster affected regions? Enterprise short code texting through 898211 offers an ideal opportunity for Homeland Security and other first alert programs to collaborate with 2-1-1 in an effort to maximize resources and utilize infrastructure that's currently available and being deployed at state and national levels.
2-1-1 contact centers already using 898211™ (Enterprise short code texting through PreventionPays Text) are revolutionizing how referrals are administered. Individuals in their communities are a text away from housing, food banks, childcare, elderly care, or any other social services that help them connect with resources. They are also setting new standards for emergency and disaster alerts, disseminating crucial, time sensitive information with pinpoint accuracy.
This capacity is currently available through 898211™ services!
In areas currently using 898211™, individuals simply text their zip code to 898211 to get immediate help with resources. 898211™ platform increases reach to many of the most disadvantaged and difficult to reach groups e.g. youth, hearing/speech impaired, homeless, and the millions of unemployed and/or temporarily displaced Americans. 898211™ increases operator efficiencies, while decreasing missed calls. 898211™ supports fully-automated follow-up triages so that 2-1-1 can collect data required by their funders without having to expend precious staff time on time-consuming followup calls. I&R Specialists should be doing what they do best – linking individuals to resources.
Key facts about 898211™
The Short code 898211™ is provisioned with every mobile carrier in the US
Carriers have provisioned 898211™ on their gateways to function in two very specific ways - 211 I&R and 211 Disaster/Health & Safety Alerts
Over 89 Million US households no longer own a land line
Americans under 55 text more than they make voice calls and email.
Not all mobile phones are able to call 2-1-1, but every mobile phone can send a text to 898211™
898211™ is ideal for post disaster alerts, getting people connected with resources when it matters the most
For more information about the 898211™ Platform, please text MYTEXT to 898211 (Standard msg&data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out). Or call 805-653-6000.
Or visit us at PreventionPaysText