Using Digital Signage for Emergency Messaging

Digital signage has always been a great component of digital marketing, but this form of communication extends beyond simple customer engagement and brand advocacy. When a digital display is paired with emergency content it immediately becomes a tool that can save lives.

Disaster preparedness is a critical part of any organization—from hospitals and college campuses through stadiums, corporate offices and more—and your digital signage can be a vehicle to deliver quick messages in urgent situations. There are a variety of ways in which digital signage can be used in an emergency capacity and it's beneficial to know the various aspects of this type of content before you need to deploy it.

When should it be used?

Although it is possible to install digital signage for an emergency response situation, most people that opt for this content already have a digital signage system in place. Therefore, the question now becomes "when do I use emergency content?"

Digital signage is a critical response tool that is generally used for mass communication during dynamically changing emergency situations. This can include, but is not limited to:

Weather emergencies, such as blizzards, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes
Chemical spills
Are closures to allow for emergency responder access
Active shooter situations

Knowing when to use digital signage is half the battle. You also need to know what to say.

Types of emergency digital signage messaging

A major question business owners tend to have is "what exactly should I be telling people?" In terms of an emergency plan, digital signage content should be equipped with eye-catching graphics and simple, direct messages. The following are a few examples of the type of content you should consider displaying during an emergency:

Instructions on where to go and what to do
Exit routes
Information about local shelters and emergency centers
Ambulance/Hospital contact information

The ability for digital signage to integrate with your emergency management system, or to manually deploy relevant messaging during an emergency, provides peace of mind and is a great point to bring up when outlining the capabilities of digital signage to your boss.

Benefits of emergency digital signage content

There are a multitude of reasons why using digital signage for emergency messaging is a good idea. Understanding the different advantages can give you insight into how best to prepare for an emergency.

Disaster preparedness is about fast response time. Emergency digital signage content can be updated in real-time so everyone in the building is armed with the information they need within seconds. Additionally, having digital signage relay emergency messages frees up personnel to assist during a crisis, rather than worry about disseminating information.

Including digital signage in your emergency plan also means you can have your disaster information prepared ahead of time and ready to go the second it is needed. Most digital signage solutions are cloud-based and can be accessed from any location. Therefore, operators are never confined by their whereabouts during an emergency.

Digital signage offers a form of centralized control during disastrous situations that is unparalleled by any other form of communication during a crisis. There are many ways in which you can use this technology in an emergency.

Tips for using emergency communications via digital signage

Schools are some of the first institutions to widely use digital signage as an emergency communication solution, but organizations in every industry are now taking advantage digital signage for emergency management. The following is a general guideline for the types of emergency communications to consider:

Prevention: Create campaigns that detail exactly how to respond in various situations. You can schedule this to run intermittently to ensure people know standard emergency procedures.

Preparedness: Always have a course of action depending on the situation. This plan should include a repository of situation-specific messages that can be accessed and triggered instantly.

Response: Alerts should be part of your overall digital content and interspersed frequently with regular content.

Recovery: There should also be notifications that inform people a danger has passed or a situation is calm. Recovery content is just as important as the alerts themselves.

The following are a few tips to consider when planning your digital signage content:
Use short and brief messages
Always have proper lighting over your signage
Use large fonts and bright colors
Use audio, email and SMS to complement your signage

Digital signage is a useful communication tool, but it really becomes a critical instrument when used in emergency situations. If you do not have a disaster plan in place, or even if you do, you may want to consider including digital signage.

Once you have decided that digital signage is the best route for emergency preparedness, it's important to choose the right content and schedule it accordingly. Inform people before disaster strikes, and update them in real-time when they instantly need the information.

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