Preparing your LED Sign or Digital Billboard for Severe Weather

Gifford bank sign broadcasts message of resilience after tornado devastates the area. Credit: The News Gazette.In the midst of severe weather, digital signs owners often use their signs for the benefit of the community. These messages informed local residents who didn’t have reliable access to traditional media during bad weather.

If you’ve invested in an LED sign or digital billboard, you might wonder how severe weather could affect its operation. One thing you won’t have to worry about: turning the sign off. In fact, one Watchfire billboard operator, CRG Advertising’s Charles Ghione, kept his billboards on when Hurricane Sandy’s 85 mph winds hit the East Coast. A few days after the storm he let us know he was safe and his boards were running as they should, “The units made it through the storm UN touched... which was horrific as I am sure you were aware. I thought of shutting them down but at the last min (sic) decided to keep them on so am very grateful that everything worked out well.”

Charles and his team followed our advice. We believe the best solution is to leave the sign powered ON during severe weather. Keeping the sign on helps prevent condensation from forming inside the cabinet. Surge suppressors in the sign are designed to protect it from changes in the incoming power. Further, there is no need to cover the LED face as the covering could actually cause damage to the LEDs or louvers.

Leaving the sign powered up also means that important public safety announcements can be sent to the sign remotely, as long as there is power and internet access at the site. Internet-connected signs can be updated remotely, allowing you to safely change messages for those still in the area.

We can't advise you about what to do if you own sign products from another manufacturer, but if you have a Watchfire LED sign or digital billboard, you can move it down on your list of things to worry about. Stay safe out there this hurricane season.

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