Emergency planning

Callmy Announce New SMS Broadcast Service

Woman with phoneWe are pleased to announce the Callmy Alert service now supports a new SMS broadcast feature.

 What does the SMS feature provide?

As an alternative to sending messages to user’s Callmy Alert app, you can now also send messages to their mobile as SMS.

Why has SMS been introduced into the service?

We recognise there are some scenarios where you have the responsibility to deliver important messages to end users, but it’s not always practical to install an app on their phone – such as visitors to your sites or temporary contractors – this may currently be a consideration with your plans for Martyn’s Law.

If you now simply add user’s mobile number, via the Callmy Alert Portal, and allocate them to an appropriate message group, they become part of your emergency communication community. In a scenario where you need to lockdown a site or warn of an imminent threat, you know your regular users will receive messages via the app (installed on their phone, table tablet or desktop) and your more informal contacts will be alerted via SMS.

A premium service

As the service will be used for critical situations where a fast response is required, from potentially a large number of users, having a reliable service with none of the normal bottlenecks is vital. We have engineered a carrier class service with a high degree of capacity, with the intelligence to navigate around potential network disruption.

From a resilience perspective the SMS service also creates a useful fallback channel that overcomes situations where data connectivity is lost, possibly due to a cyber-attack, or just isn’t available.

How fast is the delivery?

We have operationalised a “Carrier Class” SMS gateway to support the delivery. Messages are delivered at a rate of 1,000 per second and being carrier class, high levels of resilience and performance are introduced.

We hope you find this feature useful and please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Protect Duty – are you prepared?


Protect Duty

On Monday 19 December 2022, the Government announced details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

It will place a requirement on those responsible for certain locations to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures.

The legislation will ensure parties are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.

A driving factor behind the proposal is the fact that counter terrorism security efforts often fall in the pecking order when compared to other, legally required, activities. Plus, during the consultation, 7 in 10 respondents agreed that ‘those responsible for publicly accessible locations should take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect the public from attacks.’

In this article we provide some practical information on what organisations may need to consider when drafting a plan to meet the requirements of the new Protect Duty.


After a terrorist suicide bomb attack in the lobby of an arena in Manchester in 2017, several inquiries highlighted a range of security-related failings. As a result of both official findings and public pressure, heroically led by the mother of one of the 22 victims, Figen Murray OBE, a public consultation and pending draft legislation will put some responsibilities for terrorism security onto organisations who own and operate publicly assessable locations (PALs).

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Supporting Emergency Mobilisation for the FANY (PRVC)

FANY logo and image

Technology creates many shortcuts in our day to day lives, making things more enjoyable and work more efficient; however, in times of crisis the right tech to deploy for a rapid response becomes imperative. For the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps), a charity that deploys trained volunteers during emergencies, there was a need to move away from an inefficient patchwork of calls, WhatsApp and text messages to a more effective and efficient solution, and so it adopted a UK innovation called Callmy Alert.

The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry is a charity of 150 professionally trained female volunteers, who need to deploy quickly to staff operations rooms and incident lines in the event of a crisis. It is a crucial cog in the resilience measures of the capital’s civil and military authorities – such as the City of London Police, Ministry of Defence, London Coroners and the London Local Authorities’ Panel.

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Callmy Alert – supporting your compliance with ISO22301

BCP ImageISO 22301, the standard for Business Continuity Management, emphasises the need for a well-defined incident response structure.

This ensures that when incidents occur, responses are escalated in a timely manner and people are empowered to take the necessary actions to be effective – section 8.4.3 of the standard details the requirements for a communication and warning system.

Callmy Alert is the idea service to support your Business Continuity communication and to ensure compliance. It is a simple to use service and provides a complete audit of all message activity and response – vital to help assess how situations were resolved and to refine future plans.

Covid-19 will probably mean business continuity plans will be reappraised and this could also be a great opportunity to consider how emergency communication can now be evolved.

Please contact usto discuss your requirements or to arrange a demonstration of Callmy Alert in action.

Emergency Exercise on track for HORIBA MIRA using Callmy Alert


Being a global provider of pioneering engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors, HORIBA MIRA know the importance of emergency planning and preparedness.

With this in mind Callmy Alert was put to the test during an exercise, which involved HORIBA MIRA staff and a joint response from the West Midlands Fire and Ambulance services.

The test scenario was based around a vehicle accident on HORIBA MIRA’s proving ground and as this extends to some 100km is a challenging event to plan for.

Callmy Alert was used to help mobilise key responders and escalate communication to Bronze and Silver teams. Emergency messages were sent from emergency control directly to the Callmy Alert app. As the app is reserved for urgent situations, an open rate of 86% was achieved within a few minutes of sending – faster and more secure than email, WhatsApp or SMS and delivered with a complete audit trail via the Callmy Alert Management Portal.

HORIBA MIRA are now looking to use their Callmy Alert service to contact and locate first aiders, as well as deploying the desktop version of the app, to deliver urgent messages to locations where mobile phone use is not permitted.

The University of Wolverhampton – a secure place to study with Callmy Alert

Callmy supporting emergency communication for SMG Europe at their prestigious new venue; P&J Live


Callmy have supported emergency communication for SMG Europe at their prestigious new venue; P&J Live.

P&J Live is the largest event complex in the North of Scotland, boasting world-class conference and exhibition facilities for organisers and delegates across the globe, all sustainably powered by local, renewable energy sources. The development also comprises three on site hotels including the adjoining 4-star Hilton with 200 bedrooms, the Aloft Hotel with 150 bedrooms.

The Callmy Alert service has been put to the test during the inaugural event at the venue – SPE Offshore Europe.

SPE Offshore is Europe’s leading E&P event, attracting more than 36,000 visitors from around the world.

The Callmy Alert app was deployed by SMG Group to a variety of stakeholders, who bear the responsibility of managing the sites security and safety. Callmy Alert has provided an effective means of delivering emergency communication and helped to overcome some potential security challenges and threats.

SMG Europe is the industry leader in managing entertainment, sports and leisure venues in the United Kingdom and Europe.

School Emergency Plans: Communication Considerations

Of interest to:

  • Head-teachers
  • Chairs of Governors
  • Academy Trustees
  • School Business Managers
  • Nursery Owners/Managers
  • Emergency Planners


A helpful summary of how to ensure your communications are ready for a crisis


While real emergencies are (thankfully) rare, schools are required to have arrangements in place for situations that impact the whole school community: whether it be storms, gas leaks, or criminal activity. When a crisis hits, schools need to be ready to inform, reassure and react to complex situations.

Detailed guidance for schools planning for emergencies and severe weather, is available from the Government*


Some may find the official guidance heavy going, particularly the Cabinet Offices supporting documentation. Taken at face value there are also some potential gotchas and other scenarios that need to be understood.

Given the lack of predictability in climate, global security and the legal complexities of health and safety legislation, planning for emergencies can be a challenge when resources are limited – particularly for smaller schools and nurseries.

Telephone Communications

One underlying theme is the need to maintain effective communications throughout the emergency. The government’s guidance states a phone number should be nominated and shared with relevenat stakeholders and parents. This seems to be just a tick box item but it needs careful consideration in your planning process – it may be vital to your response.

In an emergency you may experience a significant increase in the number of calls you receive. This would place a burden on your telephony infrastructure (the number of lines you have serving your school) and call answering resources (the number of people you can allocate to answering calls).

An engaged phone will cause distress to parents, will prevent the emergency services coordinating a response and will mean the media are not correctly briefed – beware of quotes from unofficial sources.

Alternative Communication Plans

Also what type of emergency are you planning for? Events on the ground may affect the resources you have access to. For instance, a flood will not only affect your ability to travel, it may cause a loss of power and your local telephone exchange may fail. Your fall back position, therefore, may be to use a mobile phone as an alternative.

However, if you live in a metropolitan area a ‘7/7-type’ event may mean the mobile network is not available. Guidance on this is currently under review.

We are now in an age when we are trying to plan for the unexpected and unimaginable, and it is a significant challenge to plan for the next event, based on past events.

It’s not as easy as sharing the school telephone number, unfortunately.

Next Steps

So how can you remedy this and put measures in place to help support a survivable telephony service which will support your emergency response.

Consider the following:

  • Decide who will be the ‘voice’ of the school for different events: Head, Chair of Governors, etc.
  • Know who to call for advice. Do you have a contact number ready for the LA, Health Trust or Police for emergency advice?
  • Use several numbers for specific groups to contact – parents, the emergency services and the media. This spreads the load and will help you to allocate your resources accordingly.
  • Make your numbers for the emergency services and media ex directory, to prevent misuse.
  • Use out of area numbers (OoA) to ensure your telephony survives a loss of local infrastructure. You may want to speak to another school that could provide thess for you.
  • Alternatively, you could use a non-geographic number (NGN)– 03 numbers are now typically used by government.
  • Decide where your OoA or NGN numbers need to deliver to (and who will answer). If you are using the goodwill of a friendly school who are provide numbers for you, they will need to call forward to one of your numbers. If you are using an NGN number, this will need to “deliver to” one of your numbers (fixed or mobile). The provider should set this up for you and may provide a portal to help you control this in the future.
  • If your emergency creates a call spike, or if you local telephone service (fixed or mobile) isn’t available, look at using a call answering service/emergency switchboard provider. You will need to define a process to brief the call centre agents on the message they need to give out. Once again your OoA/NGN number will have to be configured to deliver to the required location.
  • Use a notification service to send proactive alerts and messages. This should prevent many of the calls you would normally receive reaching your location – thus reducing the burden on your telephone system and resources. A cloud based service would be recommended, as something locally deployed will be susceptible to local infrastructure failure; power, telephony, etc.
  • Don’t depend on one channel!  One final point to understand is the threat to your data network. Posting information onto your website may be vital to your emergency response but once again the emergency may impact local infrastructure. In addition, the threat of ‘Cyber attack’ has now become pervasive to our nation’s security and this includes our education system.

This is a thought provoking challenge and one recommendation would be to avoid single points of attack. If costs permit and if resources allow, build a plan that covers processes, people and resources.

Try to buddy up with out of area schools and colleges (something our emergency services do for their 999 call handling) Consider duplicating resource from multiple vendors, use systems with differing technology, avoid locally deployed services and if this is going to cause sleepless nights, employ a emergency planning consultant who can advise on the best approach.

Finally, it is worth remembering that a true crisis is unlikely. If you need to explain the School nativity has been cancelled due to Joseph having stage fright and the Three Kings going down with Chickenpox, your normal communication should work fine.

However, it is a legal requirement to be ready for something more serious, and while we all hope for the best, it is essential to be ready for the worst.



Law change floated to enable emergency alerts

Location based text to replace sirens for warning citizens of emergencies

The UK Government has taken the first steps towards setting up a national system capable of texting mobile phones with information about a terrorist attack or another major emergency. A consolation opening yesterday proposes a change in the law to enable every mobile phone in a defined area to be teed with an emergency alert.


In the immediate aftermath of the July 2005 bombings in London, the City of London Police shut down mobile phone networks within a mile of Aldgate East, one of three stations hit by suicide bombers. Contingency plans for shut-downs were also part of the preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

Official thinking now seems to have swung behind the idea that mobile networks are more use in emergency situations when switched on. Especially for official communications. Today’s consultation cites the need to disseminate information in situations such as floods or industrial accidents at chemical sites – and that the cellular network makes a vastly better information conduit than the traditional sirens.

This is clearly a step in the right direction and a significant improvement on the current arrangements. However, it may create a dilemma for the Emergency services if the public start to rely on this capability as the ONLY point of reference, when terrorists are using the mobile network to detonate explosive devices. We would assume in this situation the public would be notified that the service was going to be shut down and they should refer to “something else” as an alternative source. Emergency stakeholders will need to have extremely fluid plans to overcome such an event. In addition, we believe it is questionable to only to inform citizens in the effected area – if my family or property are at risk but I am working outside the area, I will be out of the communication loop. Allowing citizens to opt in an to receive alerts irrespective of their location would surely be preferable.

Securing the service will be of paramount importance – if hackers were to gain access, they would have an excellent vehicle for spreading misinformation and could compound an emergency with potentially dire consequence.

It will be interesting to see how Government deliver this proposed service and whether they will defer to local agencies to take decisions on the most effective and relevant capability to alert the communities they serve.

For more information on the consolation, please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changing-existing-regulations-for-an-emergency-alert-system