NSW Bush fires: Sentral enables better communication

From the team at Sentral

Ahead of forecast catastrophic fire conditions for Tuesday 12 November, Sentral activates automated messaging for all its NSW schools.

On 11 November 2019 the state of NSW was put on notice for the severest of all fire conditions. Catastrophic fire danger was declared for the Sydney, Hunter, Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.

With high temperatures and high winds forecast across the state, communities and businesses were instructed to make the appropriate preparations. This included schools, and over 600 made the decision ahead of time to close for the day to reduce the need for students to travel through potentially fire affected areas. Transport NSW also encouraged commuters to leave work early to avoid potential problems and delays with public transport.

Whilst this no doubt placed many people in difficult situations, the decision for schools to close was most certainly appropriate. By the end of the day on 12 November 2019, the NSW Rural Fire Service Website was indicating around 100 fire incidents across NSW of varying alert levels. The loss of life and property was tragic.

Sentral contributes to the fire effort

From a school’s perspective, communication is a critical factor in emergency situations. To quickly send messages to the entire school community is a key capability.

In preparation for this very stressful period, Sentral activated automated SMS messaging for its NSW schools at no cost.

For schools in fire affected areas, continuous communication with the latest updates was made possible. In addition, schools were also given the option of a ‘Dedicated Mobile Phone Number’ connected to the SMS messaging service. This means that messages always come from the same number, enabling parents to save the number into their phones for effective 2-way communication. The dedicated number option was provided free for one year.

Sentral enabled these services for schools swiftly as an expression of care for its customers.

Sentral is a key component in school communication

Built on decades of experience, and trusted by over 3000 schools across Australia, Sentral places a high priority on the communication capabilities provided by the platform. With features including bulk and automated SMS messaging, dedicated mobile phone numbers and email, schools are able to keep parents informed of their child’s wellbeing quickly and efficiently.

Into the future

Sentral recognises that the future will bring further challenges and critical events. Schools can be assured that the safety and wellbeing of all people in the schools it serves is of paramount importance. It’s one of the key aspects that drives product innovation and the ability to respond quickly in difficult situations.

Sentral salutes our heroes

Sentral would like to acknowledge and thank all volunteers and emergency services for their frontline work to protect life and property. Sentral recognises the great personal risk taken by those actively dealing with the fire situation, and the contribution they make to ensuring the safety of our homes, communities and schools. In many cases, their efforts are truly heroic.