SMS-based Emergency Assistance Routing

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SMS-based Emergency Assistance Routing

En Español


This project was developed at the TechCamp in Santiago, Chile on November 20. TechCamp Santagio had over 100 participants, including a few US technologists, over 20 Chilean Tech community representatives, and approximately 80 NGOs and civil society organization representatives from across Latin America. Small group discussions between technologists and civil society organizations were used as a means of developing valid problem definition statements.

Proposed by: Digitales Por Chile in Santiago, Chile


A backup point of contact for this project is Noel Dickover ( or is a secondary contact. He is US-based and can be reached via email or cell during RHoK at seven-zero-three--two-three-one--three-nine-one-two, or via twitter at @NoelDickover. Noel may be available via Skype (NoelDickover) Friday evening, late Saturday evening and Sunday.


The idea here is for a Disaster Assistance Response system that would help disaster victims. In these situations regular communications are down due to the disaster, but SMS should be functioning. Such a system would allow someone to call a number in an SMS Center, report their status (whether they are OK), submit information/recommendations. The Center could also follow up. The final product would be a semi-structured list for first responders within the first 48 hours of a disaster.

Who Needs This?

Populations cut off by an emergency


Reporting and registering calls for emergency assistance via SMS would have helped during the Chilean earthquake. People would need to know about this prior to the event, so a country or region would need to adopt this approach and socialize it to its people.


Use Case/User Story/Scenario

Someone sends an SMS message that provides relevant, necessary information to emergency teams; the teams can then guide rescue actions and tell the victims when to expect help. For example, this could be the sequence:

  1. A house collapses; a victim or a neighbor alerts authorities via SMS;
  2. Rescue personnel respond with an SMS: “Message received. Need address.”
  3. Victim/neighbor: Sends address via SMS.
  4. Rescue personnel: SMS reply says “Data acknowledged,” provides instructions and expectations when help will arrive.

Description and Constraints

System of tracking and routing emergency response via SMS will require structured data being stored at the center receiving the calls.

En Español

Daremos las definicaciones de problemas a un grupo global de progamadores voluntarios que se llaman “Random Hacks of Kindness” quien crearan soluciones a estes problemas desde el 4 hasta 5 de diciembre.

Resumen del meta

Registrar la necesidad de asistencia en emergencia a través de SMS sencillos.

Descripcion de la necesidad

Usuarios en emergencia no pueden llamar, no hay registro del caso o incidente, por lo fin los servicios de ayuda no llega.

Quien lo necesita?

Poblaciones aisladas tras emergencia

Caso Tipico

Una persona envía un mensaje SMS sencillo que provee información relevante necesaria a los equipos de emergencia; los equipos puede guiar las acciones de rescate y brindar expectiva real de ayuda. Una sequencia ejemplar:

  1. Una casa cae; el victima u otra personal envía SMS
  2. Gente de rescate responde con SMS: “Recibimos. Falta dirección”
  3. Victima: Envía SMS con la dirección
  4. Rescate: Envía SMS: “Datos registrados.” SMS incluye expectiva de ayuda, instrucciones.

Soluciones que ya existen o enlaces relevantes

Manual de asistencia.