Interactive Kiosks and Wayfinding

Digital Signage for Weather and Natural Disasters

EA 1034

Dangerous hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, blizzards, and other severe storms can appear at a moment's notice. Employers must prepare for a myriad of workplace issues that crop up before and after they strike. When a major natural disaster hits, there may be little time to prepare and a great need to communicate rapidly with employees.

Accomplish this direct employee communication more easily with a comprehensive digital signage system in place. A digital signage system includes hardware, software, and content. The content used in an emergency may save lives.

This use case considers the benefits of using digital signage to warn and inform employees.

How much risk is there?

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported in 2021 that climate change caused a major surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years. It caused more than two million deaths and over $3.64 trillion in losses. Most of these deaths (91%) occurred in developing countries; however, America got hit hard with financial losses.

Storms caused the highest financial losses for the USA. America has the distinction of holding the top-five positions on the list of the world's most costly natural disasters. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused $163.61 billion in damage. In 2012, Hurricane Andrew generated $48.32 billion in losses. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey ($96.9 billion in damages), Maria ($69.4 billion), and Irma ($58.2 billion) caused a total of over $224 billion in losses during that year.

If being wiped out by hurricanes is not bad enough, how about wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and tornados all over the place?

The EPA notes that wildfires are happening more frequently and with more intensity. Earthquakes are about the same threat as always. Those living in earthquake zones wait for the "Big One." However, a study published in Nature found that sea-level rise and disruption of rain patterns increase the risk of flooding. The National Weather Service found a significant upward trend for tornados in some parts of the USA.

The good news is that early warning systems and disaster preparedness save lives.

Get the Word Out Fast

An organization-wide digital signage system lets your digital message appear in all the important places in formats accessible by employees. Digital signage conveys information and informs employees about what to do in an emergency.

This helpful information may show on visual monitors at the workplace. It may make announcements over a workplace public-address system and repeat emergency broadcast system announcements. You might have multimedia presentations on kiosks that show evacuation routes. The system may send text messages to mobile devices, blast emails, and more.

The main advantage of having an effective digital signage system is the ability to create a consistent message that presents critical information and then ensure the messaging appears everywhere on any device used by employees and in the appropriate format. As part of a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan, this mass delivery helps ensure you get essential information to your employees right when they need it.

Broadcast Real-Time Emergency Information

Information feeds from the National Emergency Broadcast System, news agencies, weather services, and government agencies may be part of the information incorporated in a comprehensive digital signage system.

During a crisis, information may change rapidly. From a centralized dashboard, company information is pushed to all the digital signage of an organization to ensure the messages are compelling, consistent, and up-to-date.

Backup Systems and Backup Plans

One of the most significant issues in any emergency is the planning for a backup system and its use. The digital signage system must work from backup power sources if the electrical grid goes down, such as battery systems or emergency generators, to keep functioning during critical needs.

Get Ready

One question that comes up when considering the implementation or an upgrade of a digital signage system is, "Where do you get the content for the organization's messages? Many organizations have public relations efforts that they outsource or run in-house that may provide good content. The human resources department is another place to find content.

Moreover, it may be helpful to draw upon the extensive resources the U.S. government offers.

The Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), along with the Department of Homeland Security, has a website called with lots of helpful information.

Topics covered on this website include:

  • Severe Weather Tips
  • Winter Weather Safety Tips
  • Cybersecurity Tips
  • Communication Planning

The business section includes the following:

  • How to make an emergency plan for your business.
  • How to make toolkits for hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, and power outages.

All this governmental information is useful to include in your digital signage content as appropriate for your potential emergency risks. You can benefit from teaching employees about hazard prevention and site security. Don't forget about fire safety.

Content Management

Are you starting to see the wonderful variety of content that may be useful for your digital signage system? Drawing on these public resources helps keep the information fresh and interesting. By building employee engagement with the system, they are more likely to pay attention the case of an emergency when it really counts.

If your emergency preparedness plan is some document that no one ever reads, it is nearly useless. Instead, you want to create engaging content that is broadcast on your digital signage system to teach employees important information about what to do in the case of an emergency.

The additional benefits of maintaining a robust internal communication system using digital signage include improved employee morale, potentially reducing employee turnover that helps to keep valuable workers, and the ability to guide corporate culture.

Final Thoughts

Contact ConnectedSign to have a nice chat about your organization's digital signage needs, plans for implementation or upgrades, and what you would like to accomplish with an emergency response system to guide employees in the case of a natural disaster that impacts operations.