vrijdag 19 april 2013

Digital Billboards Spring to Action to Warn Bostonians.

Bostonians still shaken by Monday's Boston Marathon terror attack awoke this morning to gunshots, explosions and a plethora of emergency messages. With one of the terrorists, identified as Chechen Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a gunfight with police officers early Friday morning, warnings went out that a massive manhunt was underway for the second terrorist, his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was considered armed and extremely dangerous.

MEMA alert on Clear Channel billboards warns Bostonians.

The digital billboards in the area that had been called into action when the bombings occurred were instantly updated this morning with new messaging. According to Jason King, VP, corporate communications for New York-based Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) public safety alerts are being displayed on all seven CCO billboards in Greater Boston, located on I-93 in Medford and Stoneham, and Route 495 in Lawrence.

MEMA alert on Clear Channel billboards warns Bostonians.

"Clear Channel Outdoor first established this relationship by reaching out to MEMA to offer assistance during the early February blizzard, which dumped more than two feet of snow in Massachusetts and resulted in a state of emergency being declared," King told us in an email.
"The digital technology allows MEMA to adapt its messages in real-time to changing situations, providing a significant boost to its public safety effort and providing people, especially those with loved ones in the vicinity, with critical information."

MEMA alert on Clear Channel billboards warns Bostonians.

Besides making the digital signs available to MEMA at no cost, CCO "is partnering with MEMA to provide access as needed for the duration of this emergency situation," said King.
In addition, Clear Channel also has a relationship with the FBI. According to Ken Klein, vice president of OAAA, the Washington, D.C.-based association representing the out-of-home advertising industry, the industry's relationship with the FBI began in 2007 as an experiment in Philadelphia. After two out of a rotation of nine fugitives were apprehended from Clear Channel digital billboard notices, the FBI realized "they had an idea worth nationalizing," Klein said, adding,  "Since then, 51 fugitives have been apprehended from information generated by digital billboards."

Other partnerships with federal and state agencies, such as a memorandum of understanding with FEMA in 2012, have subsequently taken place and, according to Klein, formed the underpinnings for the spontaneous emergency messaging that we've seen this week in Boston.
"The flexibility and adaptive nature of the digital billboards in Boston for emergency messaging is an outgrowth of partnerships in other situations," said Klein.

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