Using Digital Signage for Good - Getting the Word Out During a CrisisFor government agencies, it is important to communicate with the public on sensitive and critical issues. Often, the ability to send messages out quickly and clearly during a crisis can be a matter of life and death. This is where digital signage can play a pivotal role.

Digital signage and other out-of-home (OOH) solutions help government agencies:

  • Disseminate disaster information, generate crime alerts, and share new regulations.
  • Provide better services to the hearing-impaired.
  • Assist tourists and visitors who speak a foreign language.
  • Increase public awareness at minimal costs and maintenance outlays.

How Government Agencies Benefit the Public Using Digital Signage and Out Of Home Solutions

Disseminating emergency alerts such as fire alarms, air-raid sirens, and road hazard signs to ensure public safety has always been a part of the job for government agencies. What’s different with today’s technology-based security solutions is that they offer better and more effective ways to attract the attention of citizens.

Many agencies have adopted digital signage to safeguard their communities and to deliver vitally important information during all types of emergencies, anything from criminal offences, child abduction, active shootings, and natural disasters. Let’s explore some recent DOOH initiatives.

In 2014, more than 460,000 children were reported missing to law enforcement in the United States. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), working in collaboration with the U.S Department of Justice, used digital OOH to track four missing children in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The search was part of the ‘Summer of Hope’ campaign the NCMEC created with Clear Channel Outdoors America, and it demonstrated how the use of digital bus shelters and billboards allows the agency to both broaden their search significantly, and request the help of the community.

In case of criminal offenses the pervasive nature of digital signs and billboards can convince alleged offenders to surrender. In early August 33 year old Memphis police officer Sean Bolton was shot and killed during a traffic stop; the suspect fled. The U.S. Marshals Service used digital OOH to hunt down the alleged suspect, Tremaine Wilborn, who turned himself in within two days. Said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, “the fugitive felt the walls closing in.”

Digital OOH is also a particularly powerful tactic during natural disasters and other communications important to the community at large. As the region faces one of the most long-lasting and high impact droughts on record, The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) uses digital signage technology for its water conservation drive. In a partnership with Clear Channel, The SCWC has launched a far reaching campaign to encourage Californians to conserve water. The campaign features the conservation mascot @Lawn_Dude and runs on Clear Channel-donated space on 25 signs throughout Southern California.

Digital Signage for Crisis Management

Government agencies often face an onslaught of emergency situations where there is little room for error. How can agencies manage crises effectively with digital signage solutions? Here are some ideas and strategies to help agencies prevent, stay prepared, and respond proactively to crisis situations:

Prevention

Although not always possible, the best preventive measure is to avoid risky situations by taking proactive steps. Agencies can run ‘prevention campaigns’ on digital OOH to help educate people about preventing and/or handling the worst scenarios. Information for these campaigns can include:

  • Prevention tips
  • Public service information
  • Health tips
  • Security contact information – to be used when suspicious activities are noticed

Preparedness

Being prepared may help agencies quickly avert crisis situations. During a crisis, agencies can broadcast information through their digital signage network regarding:

  • Which medical facilities are available, where first aid kits can be located, and how to access emergency assistance closest to each digital sign.
  • Fire escape routes.
  • Information about safety zones and emergency contact numbers.
  • Instructions on how to react during a crisis – using fire extinguishers, sand buckets, etc.

Responsiveness

When crisis strikes, having a plan is not enough; a lot depends upon how an agency responds to a situation. Being responsive is about putting the plan into action. With help of ‘Alert Integration,’ agencies can broadcast emergency messages during an event that alert their staff to get into action and establish a recovery plan.

Recovery

Each emergency situation demands a unique recovery plan. Once the situation is under control, ‘Alert Integration’ stops and regular messages are displayed on the digital signage. Regaining normalcy is essential in order to move out of crisis mode and back to a regular routine.

With the help of digital signage, government agencies can keep emergencies under control and, even in the worst cases, work actively to promote public safety.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.

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