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Text Alerts Keep March For Our Lives Demonstrators Safe and Informed


Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC on March 24, 2018, to rally in support of gun control and school safety measures in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

In preparation for the March For Our Lives protest, the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with the United States Park Police, urged attendees to Text MARCH24 to 888777 to receive safety, traffic, and event alerts throughout the day. Within three days, more than 15,000 people signed up for the alerts, powered by Everbridge.

“With March For Our Lives demonstrators coming to DC from all around the country, we needed a way to quickly reach everyone in the case of an emergency,” explains HSEMA Director Chris Rodriguez. “Using an event keyword made it easy for attendees to sign up. The ability to push notifications directly to thousands of mobile phones allowed us to send important event, safety, and transit information before, during, and after the rally.”

District officials sent nearly two dozen notifications to subscribers. The timely texts included information pertaining to street closures, transit delays, weather updates, and reunification locations for missing persons.

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<p>In addition to the alerts, United States Park Police also used Everbridge to solicit anonymous text message tips from attendees. Among the tips received by law enforcement was a report of a duffel bag left unattended near the demonstration, and the need for a medic. In both cases, nearby officers were dispatched to the locations to investigate.</p>
<p>DC officials previously used Everbridge’s keyword alerts for other large gatherings in the area, including the 2017 Presidential Inauguration (Keyword: INAUG), Pope Francis’ visit to the city in 2015 (Keyword: DCPOPE), and the annual Fourth of July celebrations on the National Mall (Keyword: JULY4DC).</p>
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