Emergency Voice & SMS


It is possible to send emergency messages when no Internet access is available through a dial/text in telephone based system. By dialling or texting the emergency number and providing your pin, you are able to record a voice message or send an SMS message to pre-configured groups.

The settings must be configured by an administrator before you can make use of this feature in an emergency scenario.

This feature can be used from home in the event of a snow closure, but comes in to its own during daytime school emergencies such as a fire evacuation when staff may only have mobile phones to rely on and no Internet access from the school building; this new feature allows a message to be recorded/sent from the playground using up-to-date school MIS data to advise parents of the situation and to keep senior staff appraised of the situation.

Emergency Voice & SMS Sending

To make use of the emergency sending feature, it is as simple as dialling or texting a number (020 3322 4122) and providing a pincode (available from your Groupcall Administrator).

The steps differ between dialling and texting; they are detailed below. If you send the message via dialling, voice messages will be sent, if you text the system, SMS messages will be sent. Your Groupcall Champion must have configured the emergency sending settings prior to any users sending a message via phone call or text.



Emergency Voice & SMS Configuration

In order to configure the system prior to needing to send an emergency message go to Tools > Account Settings > Voice Settings (as shown below, the button is located below the table detailing your general account configuration options). This option will only be accessible by an Administrator.


Please note this feature is currently only available for customers using 'Twilio' as their voice/SMS provider. If you do not see the screen as shown above and below, then you may have a different voice/SMS provider. If you would like to enable this feature on your account, please contact us and we can advise on how to proceed.

You will then see a new screen as per below.


There are a number of tabs on this screen that are used for configuring your Voice settings. They are outside of the scope of the information here, but can be found in our Voice User Guide.



The tab you need to configure the Emergency sending is the last tab - 'Emergency Voice & SMS'.



From this screen you can setup the options that are presented to the user when they dial or text the system to trigger an emergency message as well as setting access information for increased security and configuring the message played to users when they record the message.

Pincode Used for security and to identify the user as coming from 'your school'. To change this at any time, simply select 'New Pincode' and a new one will be generated. Be sure to press 'Submit' to save the new pincode.

Also make sure any authorised users that will need to send emergency messages have the new pincode saved in their mobiles or written down somewhere for easy reference in the event of an emergency. Be sure to keep this information accessible yet secure to prevent unauthorised access (such as from Students who may be partial to a prank or two!!). We'd recommend keeping the pincode and the telephone number separate to prevent them falling in to the wrong hands, and if written down (for example detailed in an Emergency Evacuation procedure) it is labelled in such a way that only authorised users would be able to use the information e.g. on a mobile phone the contact could be called "Inspector Sands" after the UK emergency service code name for a fire.


Permitted Numbers A list of permitted phone numbers, blank to allow any phone to call in and send an emergency message. This further increases security as only permitted numbers can dial in even if the pincode did get into the wrong hands. We recommend that you either leave this blank or have several number configured here. If you only have 1 or 2 numbers and those phones are unavailable during an emergency, you have no way to use the emergency system.

The numbers should be entered in the format "+447nnnnnnnnn" - drop the leading zero and replace with the relevant international code (a +44 for uk numbers) followed by the rest of the number with no spaces. Multiple numbers should be entered as a comma separated list.

The list should be updated regularly to maintain emergency access in the case of changes to phone numbers or the people permitted to use the system.



"+447455456791,+447457456793,+447460456796,+447464456800,+447469456805,+447482456818,+447490456826, +447499456835,+447509456845,+447520456856,+447532456868,+441836987464,+441838987466,+441841987469, +441845987473,+441850987478,+441856987484,+441863987491,+441871987499,+441880987508,+441890987518, +441901987529,+441913987541"

Menu Script The text here will be converted to speech and played to users when they dial in. It should be clear so that it's easy to use in an emergency and should always include $optionlist$ at the end of the script so that users hear the Options as configured e.g. "Press 1 for assistant head, press 2 for ....". "Welcome to the emergency broadcast system for Green Abbey $optionlist$" is the default script. We suggest altering this to include your school name and any additional instructions for users.
Menu Option n These options allow the user to choose which groups the message should be sent to. To configure any one of the 8 options to allow a particular group to be contacted, simply select the dropdown arrow next to the option required  and choose 'Call Group'.M5_Voice_Settings_Emergency_DropdownYou can now select the desired group from the table displayed; firstly select a Group Type from the left, then choose the Group Name from the right. Press 'Submit' when you have made your selection. Repeat for each option, being sure to make comprehensive selections for use in the case of an emergency. NB, 'Call Group' encompasses 'Text Group' also.M5_Voice_Settings_Emergency_Groups


Be sure to press 'Submit' when making any changes to these options to ensure they are saved.

Next Steps...

If you need any further assistance or get in to any difficulty, please contact your School Administrator. Alternatively, they can contact Groupcall Support on your behalf.

…And Finally

Have you followed Groupcall on Twitter and Facebook? Stay informed, get the latest news, updates and useful tips on all of our products!


Print Friendly