October 30, 2018

Digital signage helps firefighters save lives

Originally posted on www.digitalsignagetoday.com on  | by Bradley Cooper


Digital signage isn't just for advertisements; it can also supply lifesaving information. One example of this is the FireRescueTV platform, designed specifically for firefighters. Martin Grube, executive producer of FireRescueTV, created the platform to help firefighters train, get information on fires in progress and relax with entertaining content.

Digital Signage Today spoke with Grube to learn more about this platform.

Q. What kind of content does FireRescueTV offer?

A. I was a firefighter for over 35 years. My vision was to provide on-duty firefighters an easy-to-access library of training videos and provide a 24-hour loop of entertaining content catering to firefighters. Content such as fire house cooking, fire history, new firefighting equipment and new fire apparatus are just a few videos broadcast on the FRTV screen. Training videos created by firefighters out in the field are also added to the library along with FEMA, and other government first responder videos buried on the web are now easily accessed on the FRTV system.

Q. What is the primary benefit for fire stations?

A. There is a tremendous amount of information that is relayed to fire stations daily through emails, phone calls and paperwork. However, fire officers must log in, read each email, print and then post or verbally tell members of pertinent news. This information is fluid and constantly changing, and because firefighters work 24 hours a day, this information must be updated quickly. FireRescueTV allows the fire officers to send messages to one or all their fire stations in seconds. The data is updated on the screen and the information and meeting reminders rotate every 90 seconds.

Firefighters are required to perform a mandatory one-hour daily drill while on duty. Training never ends in the fire station, and many times, the shift begins with a morning muster and quick drill or safety talk over coffee. FRTV offers a complete library of over 300 content-based video drills on demand. Topics such as safety, EMT, HazMat are some of the categories. They simply use the provided touchpad (mouse) to access these drills that are streamed from the FRTV server. These drills are changed often to keep the content fresh.

FireRescueTV has partnered with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration weather and the local weather for that client's zip code is displayed on the their FRTV screen every 15 minutes.

FireRescueTV has a working relationship with first responder news agencies and over 150 freelance news reporters and photographers who send in breaking news to FRTV. This news is fact checked and then placed on the FireRescueTV exclusive news crawl on the bottom of the FRTV screen.

Every fire station has a U.S. flag pole. Therefore, FRTV has placed a U.S. flag status widget on the bottom position of the screen to provide firefighters the proper flag status; full staff or half staff for the day.

Q. Do you provide a CMS for the fire stations?

A. FireRescueTV allows the fire officers full access to the message portion of the FRTV screen where critical station data and events are posted. Street closures, broken fire hydrants, upcoming training sessions can all be posted by the fire chief via a web portal or by using the free FRTV app.

The firefighters in the station have full access to the video library of training videos and new equipment product videos. The client does not have any control over the software other than posting messages. However, if they produce their own video content and want to share it with other firefighters, they send it to FRTV and we add it to the library and recognize the department for their submission.

Q. What type of displays do you use?

A. FireRescueTV has an account with a national electronics retailer and we order a 43-inch display nearest the new client location and they handle the delivery and drop off. This reduces the expense of storage of displays and shipping costs. We just ship the media player to the address. It is a plug and play system.

Q.How does the platform improve staff morale or help improve response times?

A. FireRescueTV allows volunteer firefighters to have easy access to content-based training every time they stop into their fire station. They do not have to drive to sit in a classroom for lecture. It is always available to fit their time schedules. They city career firefighters who are on duty for a 20-hour period can also obtain the lecture portion of training in their station, on duty and still available for calls in their area. This saves time and money.

Our software will also allow for the 911 CAD from their area to be fed onto the FRTV screen. It provides the firefighters the address to the calls as they are dispatched to.

Our software upgrade now will allow firefighters to post up to five JPEG images on the screen such as fires that they responded to, new truck photos or department history photos. This will greatly improve staff morale.

Q. What is the cost of FireRescueTV?

A. For $1,495, the fire station is shipped a media player with a 12-hour loop of content, a 43-inch display, an HDMI cable and a touchpad to access the video content on-demand. The screen comes with a stand mount or is hung on the wall by a team of two strong firefighters. The monthly service fee is only $19. Grube knows fire department budgets are limited and wanted to keep the monthly service very low and affordable.

The secondary revenue stream is from advertising. With the decline in print over the past decade, firefighters do not get fire related magazines to the station. Many magazines are going digital and firefighters have a vast amount of time between calls at the station. Fire equipment manufacturers and service providers are looking or ways to reach this multi-billion-dollar vertical market. FRTV offers these sponsors free production costs to develop their 60-second commercial that is broadcast every hour in every screen. Only fire related commercials are on the FRTV screens.


July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July


"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."
—President Harry S. Truman

April 17, 2018

Is Your Signage Ready to Launch?

It's an exciting time at your company when you've decided to go digital with your signage - but that knot in your stomach saying "Is it ready" is probably keeping you up at night.  Here's a list of things to keep in mind to deciding to go LIVE! 

Core Concept

At the core, your digital signage is promoting a product or a brand.  Is your signage properly addressing your target market and how they receive information about your product/brand?  If not, rethink your digital strategy to ensure they are open to your messaging and more likely to buy!


Are you working with a reputable company who has the knowledge to put together all the pieces of your signage?  There's not only the digital screens, but hooking it up, making sure it is all compatible and finally the messaging platform.  All components need to work flawlessly together?  Not sure...contact BLR for a consultation.


You've picked out your technology, but have you thought through how that technology gets put together and displayed?  Making sure your digital display has enough space to be mounted and is in plain view is just as important as the technology itself.  Make sure before you go live with your messaging that you've thought through this as well!



July 12, 2016

Hyper-Targeting Around the City

What would happen if you could pinpoint exactly who your audience is and market directly to them based on their behaviors?  Well, this is the new reality.  Facebook is a prime example of how you can use analytics to learn what your customers are doing and re-market to specifically those groups.

Advancements in technology can now use data sources from a mobile carrier, online browsing behavior and shopping purchase behaviors to determine who, exactly, the target for a product or service is.  This allows hyper-targeting campaigns to be placed strategically throughout the city and with the right message for maximum impact.  You'll be able to reach your customers in their own environment while they are on-the-go!

Contact BLR to find out how we can help you expand your reach.




June 6, 2016

ICX Summit 2016 Take-Aways

ICX Summit 2016 had many great points this year, but we found some that we think are extremely important.  Reflect Systems tweeted:

The average person remembers 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, but they remember 80% of what they experience. #BMW #ICXSUMMIT

This hit home on many levels.  Millenials are bigger than the Baby Boomer generation and their changing the game drastically.  Their phones are the screen they look at the most.  So, if you have to get them engaged with a product or brand to make an impact - you're going to have to get their attention!  Taking it off the phone isn't that easy.  Making sure your interactive displays capture attention immediately and can hold it are key.

What are you doing to capture and retain attention over the phone?  Contact BLR today.

October 13, 2015

Superior Service - First and Foremost

I’m writing to briefly introduce BLR Sign Systems to you and your event planning team. In business for nearly forty years, BLR is a full service visual communications company focused on creating compelling branded environments that deliver maximum engagement for the targeted audience.

While our signage and graphic solutions – both static and digital - are top of the line, that’s not what makes us different. What separates us is our unmatched focus on SERVICE. We understand your business and the importance of delivering on all levels for your customer’s requirements. We get that and we’re good at it.

From initial project scoping and site survey work to collaborative creative services and detail, focused project management – BLR is well equipped to meet your exacting requirements.

We thrive in a deadline driven environment and know what it means to exceed expectations. From Levi Stadium to Fort Mason in San Francisco to many of the local bay area convention centers, BLR is well versed in large scale event graphics and signage.

Please let me know a good time to contact you for a brief discussion on how we can be helpful to you.

I look forward to speaking to you soon.


Kevin Griffin
BLR Sign Systems
(408) 956-9401

March 30, 2015

What's the DOOH?



Did you know that the USA is one of the top ranked countries for using DOOH?  Which is interesting, but WHAT is DOOH?  Let's break it down...


Digital Out-of-Home advertising, or DOOH.  

Everyone who has a television is exposed to advertising through commercials, television banners or infomercials.  But, that doesn't mean that everybody experiences these same advertisements once they leave their home.  America is ranked number 4 in consumer exposure when it comes to out-of-home to digital advertising.  Countries that outrank the USA are Australia, the UK and Canda. 


DOOH's main goal is to reach the "on the go" consumer in the places they attend most.  The advertisements can be found in the airport, bus stops, office buildings, waiting rooms, elevators and malls. 

Categories include:

Digital Billboards.  Have you noticed the growning number of digital billboards as you drive down your local highways and streets?  Traditional, static billboards are quickly being replaced by billboards that allow various messages to be promoted to a multitude of drivers.

Street Furniture.  Malls, bus shelters, malls and benches are all areas of street furniture.  Next time your driving through your city, take a peek around and see how many kinds of advertisements you can find on the streets.

Transit.  If it's moving, it's advertising!  Taxi's used to be the first place you would find an advertisement driving down the road, but in today's society, it can be found everywhere!  Check out the car sitting next to you.  Does it have a vehicle wrap or business magnet on the side?  How about the buses and train station platforms?

April 8, 2011

Keep Focused

A confused, unclear and unfocused sign is one that includes more information than is necessary.


Sign "Before"

Take the care to edit your message to its essential minimum—and think about the "white space" so to speak.  Especially in a busy environment, such as a trade show or office lobby, you need to clear away a space so your message can be seen.  It needs to "pop out" from the background scenery.

Where communicating an announcement or featuring a product, design your sign for quick, brief attention.  Think about whether you want it seen at mid-distance or up close—or both.


Sign "After"

In the "After" example above, the product is more visible and flows right into the text message.  Before, it was sitting inside a white box by itself, not totally integrated with the whole.

As you can see, it's important to put some thought into how to best arrange any visual message.

March 1, 2011

First Step: Decide on Message

A sign must communicate. 

But in order for that to occur, one must first and foremost figure out what the message is.  When you've done that, it becomes a matter of putting things in that contribute to the message.

In this photo, you see an example of a sign that has the purpose to help point people in the right direction. The intended message was merely an informational one, to direct.  It can be as simple as that.  No additional content was added, not even ads—just the name of the event and arrows.

At the onset of any sign project, decide what the intended message is—and you'll find it easier to design and produce it.