Communicating with people is never more important than when an emergency situation arises. In indoor locations, fire alarms and other audible signals ensure that workers, staff, visitors and other people in a building are made aware of the emergency and potential risk.
But things are not as simple in outdoor locations. Audible signals are not efficient, are easily eclipsed by background noise and a siren or other alarm doesn’t provide any information on the nature of the emergency or provides any advice as to what to do.
Using traditional media of warning people of and emergency in a outdoor location is also limited. TV and radio transmissions only reach those watching or listening in, while SMS and email are similarly restricted—and not everybody has access to email, or carries around a phone.
Outdoor digital signage provides an ideal medium for warning people of an emergency situations. Not only is it widely visible, but all sorts of information can be relayed to the screen, from warnings to the procedures to take.
Furthermore, a network of outdoor screens can provide immediate and widespread emergency warnings with all screens providing the same information at the same time, regardless of distance apart.
Outdoor digital signage used for weather warnings is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the United States where tornadoes can destroy whole towns and lead to fatalities. Outdoor digital signage can provide warnings to pedestrians and motorists as soon as meteorologists detect a storm allowing people to take shelter.
Outdoor digital signage is also being used to provide tsunami warnings along the pacific coast and hurricane warnings in places such as Florida.
Outdoor digital signage is becoming commonplace at universities, colleges and schools, primarily because of the usefulness in times of emergency. Recent campus shootings such as the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 have indicated a need for educational establishments to provide some form of emergency warnings.
During the Virginia Tech incident, a gunman remained on campus for several hours and students, unaware of what was unfolding, arrived and walked straight into the situation, leading to more casualties.
While emergency and crisis management may only be a remote or unlikely occurrence, educational institutions can’t take any chances. Outdoor digital signage used for this purpose can also display other content too: welcoming people to the facility and providing useful information—but are always there in case an emergency situation arises.