By Jake Meador | 30 Sep 2020
How often in just the past 12 months have your construction projects been set back due to lightning? Weather of all kinds can delay construction work, of course. But lighting is uniquely disruptive. And if you live in states that have a higher than usual amount of lightning—states like Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri—then you’ve likely seen work projects set back due to storms.
What makes lightning such a problem?
Well, if a hurricane is headed your way, you can be relatively confident of when it will hit and where. Indeed, our technology has become remarkably good at anticipating the path a hurricane will take.
That said, lightning strikes are harder—you can know when storms are likely to be in your area, but that doesn’t tell you if lightning will strike close enough to your site that you have to shut down.
This makes communication difficult because you can’t communicate ahead of time beyond some kind of generic warning that a site could be affected by severe weather. By the time you know if work has to stop due to lightning, it’s too late to use more conventional communication methods. Often your workers are already on site when lightning moves into the area, forcing you to communicate with a dispersed team that won’t see an email and may not be able to hear what is said on the phone.
What’s to be done?
We recommend using text messaging to alert teams when you have to unexpectedly shut down due to lightning.
There are three primary benefits to using texting to communicate with your workers, especially during severe weather.
The data is clear: Text messages have a 95% open rate. Other forms of communication, including email, have far lower open rates. If you are communicating urgent, time-sensitive information, there’s not really any reasonable doubt about what marketing channel you ought to use: The answer will always be text messaging.
Construction sites are often incredibly loud. You have a large number of workers, many of whom are also using loud equipment. Any communication channel that relies on someone hearing a ringtone or being able to hear a phone call or even hear something spoken over a loudspeaker is not going to be sufficient for a construction site.
This is true under normal circumstances, of course, but it is even more true when you factor in severe weather conditions, which can include high wind speeds that make hearing a phone call basically impossible.
With texting, you can rely on a vibration to alert the worker to the message, which they are more likely to notice than a ringtone, and they simply need to be able to read their screen to get the message.
So it is not simply that texting is well-suited to emergency communication because people read their texts. It’s also well-suited to such conditions because messages conveyed via SMS message are far easier to understand than phone calls or any other communication method that relies on people hearing you correctly in order to receive the message you’re relaying to them.
Finally, with a good bulk texting solution, you can send texts quickly and from virtually anywhere. Calling is tricky because not only does the person you’re calling need to be able to hear on their end, you need to be in a relatively quiet place to make the call. Furthermore, calling a large number of people takes a long time.
Texting, in contrast, is fairly simple. If you’re at a computer, you can open up your bulk messaging software in a web browser and send the text message to your team. Or if you’re on-site and need to send a mass text, you can easily open up the mobile app version of your bulk SMS messaging software and send a text that way. (NOTE: Some SMS messaging providers do not offer a mobile app. You can see which companies do and do not offer a mobile app using our guide to SMS marketing software.)
For all these reasons, we think you’ll find that texting is the best, simplest tool for sending emergency communications to your construction teams, particularly in cases where worker safety is a concern, such as during severe weather.
You can learn more about text alerts for construction teams and sign up for a free Mobile Text Alerts account here.