Texas has a long history of natural and man-made disasters. Through each disaster timely communications have been critical to saving lives and property. Digital technology on billboards brings the possibility of instant communications by governmental agencies looking to do just that – save lives. Since digital billboards were introduced on to Texas highways, OAAT member companies have been donating time and space on them to warn of approaching storms, flooding, burn bans, water shortages, chemical spills and so much more. The Gulf Coast Emergency Communications Network (GCECN), developed by Clear Channel Outdoor in Houston, has become a necessary tool for the Homeland Security Offices in Harris, Galveston and Fort Bend Counties. The GCEN is an exclusive program by Clear Channel Outdoor-Houston. Clear Channel Outdoor uses its network of digital billboard units to disseminate vital information for the public’s use at no cost to any governmental entity. This partnership with the area’s emergency offices brings additional resources to their emergency operating plans. In addition to natural disasters such as storms, the GCEN can also broadcast messages for other potential dangers including chemical leaks and or plant explosions, wildfires, terrorist attacks or outbreaks of infectious diseases, including preparedness messages for hurricane seasons.
Other OAAT member companies provide similar messages on an “as needed” basis in potentially 70 or more Texas cities.