Frequently Asked Questions

The following list of questions is what we commonly hear from groups that are interested in our Text Alert service. If you have a question that isn't on the list then get in touch online and we will respond within a very short time. You can also call us on 01-2544363 for a consultation regarding your group's specific requirements. Our phone support hours are Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm, but please call anytime and we will respond to your voice message in a timely manner.

How do I register with the Gardai to get crime alerts?

An Garda Siochana require Text Alert groups to complete a one-page TA1 form, which basically lets your district station know who they should contact when they are sending out alerts. We tell you exactly what to include on the TA1 and we provide a print-friendly version on our website. We make this task as simple as possible. All you will need to do is print the document, sign it, and return it to your district Garda Station.

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How many alerts should I expect the Gardai to issue?

Text Alert works differently across all Garda district stations. The general rule of thumb is to expect an alert to be issued every 2-3 weeks. We provide a feature where if you feel you are getting too many Garda alerts then it is possible to filter them through our website. This means they will only be delivered to your committee and you can decide from there if they should be forwarded on or not. This measure ensures your SMS credit costs are kept to a minimum.

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Whats the difference between an SMS text alert and an App Alert?

Firstly, and most importantly, each SMS text message will cost your group 3.5 cent + VAT. Meanwhile each app notification will cost you NOTHING. An SMS message must go through the various Irish phone networks to be delivered to your subscribers and they charge us (and ultimately you) for that privilege. We actually do not generate revenue from these SMS messages and we pass them onto you at cost price. Our competitors have an old-school business model of charging very high rates for SMS - the last time we looked they were charging 6 cent + VAT per message which is almost double our rate. App notifications can be delivered to iPhone and Android smartphones at no cost and we are happy to offer this as part of the subscription. If you get 100% of your subscribers onto the CommunityAlerts.ie Smartphone App then that's great news!

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How do Landline Alerts work and how much do they cost?

Landline alerts cost the same as a standard text message, 3.5 cent + VAT each, and they are not limited by length. They are used by a growing number of our text alert groups across Ireland to cater for subscribers (most older persons) who may not own or be comfortable using a mobile phone. When a trusted committee member gets a standard text message alert then they can call a dedicated CommunityAlerts.ie landline number (076 local area rates) and record their message. When the message is received we look up all the group subscribers that are set to receive landline alerts and we call them. When they answer the phone they hear an introductory message advising that they are about to hear a community alert. After that, the person's voice is played and the original text message is dictated over the phone. This channel forms part of our age-friendly strategy.

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What hours does the system operate?

The default setting for each group is to issue alerts 24 hours a day. The system is 100% automated so it makes sense to allow alerts to be issued at any time. However, we allow you to choose a global "latest time" setting and we will not issue any alerts for you past that time. We also allow you to set the latest time at a subscriber level. Some subscribers may want alerts 24:7 while others may only want them up to 10pm - this is easy to set up within our website.

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Is phone support available and at what times?

We are more than happy to help with any queries you have during office hours, 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. Most groups have a dedicated account manager who can be contacted by mobile or email at any time. Group contacts will be assigned their account manager after they commit to the service after the 30-day trial. However, we believe the service is straightforward to operate and once a group is up and running there is rarely a need to contact us. Everything can be carried out in a self-service manner through the website at any time.

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How can I send out text alerts if our Garda Station aren't available?

Groups can use two methods for issuing alerts themselves: SMS text message or through this website. We provide groups with the mobile number they need to use to send in alerts. We have some permission settings so that only a phone number linked to an existing account can be used to issue alerts. It is an easy to process to issue alerts by text message. Like a radio or TV show, the message must start with a keyword (in our case your group code) and is followed by your alert message. We use an 087 number for receiving alerts and it takes 0-2 minutes to process incoming messages. If your incoming messages contain an error (e.g. no code reference) then we will text you back advising to retry.




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Apart from Garda/Crime Alerts, what other channels are available?

The service has the ability to link with Met Eireann to issue Level Red and Level Orange severe weather warnings for your county. The group manager can switch on/off each weather category so if you only want Level Red rain warnings to be issued to subscribers, but not the lower Orange level, then you can do this through the website. The service also integrates with a growing number of local authorities to issue alerts for water disruptions, road diversions and information on local planning applications. This is achieved in partnership with the MapAlerter service that is used by many Councils. It is possible to assign a map location for your group so that only accurate Council alerts are ever issued. The group can decide to filter Met Eireann and local authority alerts or to completely disable them if you are not interested. That's the default setting and you can change it whenever you like.

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How do I pay for the service?

You can pay using four methods:
  1. Pay online with a credit/debit card through this website (preferred method)
  2. Pay over the phone with a credit/debit card
  3. Pay offline by cheque/PO/draft - we can send on payment details when required
  4. IBAN Bank Transfer - we can send on payment details when required
We are fully aware that the majority of groups will pay offline by cheque as they do not have card facilities available. We are happy to take payment using any method but online payments are quickest to process and your account is always updated instantly.

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What statistics are available from the system?

We provide you with a range of statistics. The most commonly requested statistics are the Alert History list which includes a breakdown of recipient by alert channel (SMS, App, Email, Landline). We also provide a detailed breakdown of your SMS delivery logs over the previous 60 days. After 60 days your older SMS receipts are deleted to release some pressure from our servers. You can also export your list of subscribers at any time. Our export format .CSV which will open in any version of Excel or cloud document platform such as Google Docs.



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How do subscriber payments work?

The aim of our Online Subscriber Payments feature is to make it easier for your group to manage fundraising. We make it possible for you to send a text to subscribers with the payment link and a 3-digit reference code. Payments are can be made from €10 to €30 which are the usual text alert subscription rates that seem to apply. We link payments back to your group on the first day of each month and this is applied to credit with us. The next time you need to pay for your subscription of text message credits then no payment is required, we simply take it from your existing "store credit". There is a small processing fee for each payment received to cover the cost of our payment processor. This feature was suggested to us by many groups who were finding it difficult to go door-to-door to raise funds for Text Alert.

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What are Well-Being Notification Alerts?

Our newest and most innovative feature is to provide your subscribers with a fully automated check-in service to us know that they are well. Subscribers can set a latest time by which they must check in and if they contact us before that time then all is well. If they do not contact us on time, then we send SMS/Email/App notifications to the subscriber's significant others advising them to check in on the person's well-being. Like the landline alerts, this forms part of our greater age-friendly initiative to make alert services accessible by all. There is a cost for each subscriber (less than €2 per week) that wishes to avail of this part of the service but we are happy to offer three free subscriptions to every group using our service.


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