The Emergency Contact Network (ECN)was developed through in partnership with the United Way Galveston County Mainland [UWGCM] and in collaboration with GCMAP and our member agencies. A software based system, ECN allowed participants to communicate using email through UWGCM ‘s website. The ECN was created to provide a reliable platform and connection for wireless inter-agency communications should a disaster occur.
The need for ECN became abundantly clear in the disconnect that occured in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Traditional methods of communication were destroyed or rendered inoperable by the storm. Most of non-profits were unable to share information or coordinate services with fellow non-profits. Members of GCMAP recognized the need for a system that would allow non-profits to communicate with each other before, during, and after a natural disaster or other emergency so that services, volunteers and resources could be coordinated and time-sensitive information exchanged safely and quickly. In particular, knowing when and where community service agencies have re-opened after an event is of great importance to other agencies and to all the constituencies served by area non-profits. The initial response declared ECN to be an overwhelming success.
However, over the course of the launch and testing of the system,the participants noticed that email alone was not proving to be as timely as they needed, and was hampered by physical need of email retrieval. Instant messaging and texting was recommended. Unfortunately, the software upgrade needed to accommodate smart phone technology that was not available with the previous system. Thanks to UWGCM’s Associate Director, Lindsey White, a new app, Remind.com, was found that allows us to do group texting. Used by school districts in the county, the Remind app is free and will enable the Network to supply safe, efficient communication ~ instantly. Lindsey White introduced the app at UWGCM agency meeting held June 29th, 2016. With the new app, ECN will be able to continue its service and resume its monthly tests.
Remind uses the short code, 81010, to send alerts to participants. You may opt-in by texting the class code @gcmap directly to 81010. You may opt-out at any time by texting STOP to 81010.
Remind.com offers: + Flexible messaging Personalize communication for small groups, and individuals. + Accessible communication Send messages to any device, including SMS-only phones. + Safety controls Keep contact information private and access your message history any time. + Simple, rich messages Attach photos, videos, voice clips, and other files to any message. + Language support Translate messages into more than 70 languages to reach every family. + Collaborative tools Communicate with your colleagues.