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Recent hurricanes have been devastating for many people leading to loss of lives and homes. Everyone should take these hurricanes and other disasters very seriously. It is important to be prepared.
Part of being prepared is knowing what to expect and where to get information when disasters and emergencies happen. This is especially important for deaf and hard of hearing people.
The NAD has a Public Policy Committee which has an Emergency Management Expert Group, and this expert group is led by Neil McDevitt. This video by Neil McDevitt explains the steps necessary to advocate for access for deaf and hard of hearing people, and what deaf and hard of hearing people need to do to be prepared. Please watch this important video and be ready for upcoming weather conditions.
Emergency Management position paper: https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-accessible-emergency-management-for-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-people/
VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Neil McDevitt is standing in front of a white wall. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.
NEIL: Hi, my name is Neil McDevitt and I am the Chair of the National Association of the Deaf’s Expert Group focusing on Emergency Management. Our group has been watching Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
We’ve noticed many towns, cities, counties, and states are using ASL interpreters for their press conferences and briefings. This is wonderful news! At the same time, we also notice some communities have not made those arrangements. The NAD asks our state and local partners to continue their advocacy efforts pushing for access for press conferences and public information briefings to make sure they provide ASL Interpreters and/or Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) and are captioned.
We also want encourage our partners to continue advocating for accessible notification systems. While most communities today have some type of text notification system, some are still lacking. If your area hasn’t created an accessible notification system, use the experiences from Hurricane Harvey and Irma to continue that advocacy.
We also want to make sure our partners continue advocating for accessible disaster evacuation shelters as well as disaster recovery centers. We know that FEMA and their partners are working hard to make sure their Disaster Recovery Centers are accessible. It is more challenging to ensure shelters are accessible. Often, they are set up in buildings that are not accessible to people with various disabilities. Our advocacy efforts today will ensure future disaster response and recovery efforts are successful.
Today is Thursday and Hurricane Irma is forecast to hit Florida in the next few days. We want to make sure people understand their responsibilities for personal preparedness. The needs of deaf and hard of hearing people are essentially the same as hearing people. We all need water, we all need food and other things.
However, deaf and hard of hearing people need to add some extra considerations to their planning.
– Power for your communication devices. Most of us have mobile phones to send and receive information. Make sure your device is fully charged and you have extra power supplies to charge your phone.
– When you make a plan, tell your friends, family and loved ones what your plan is. When a disaster strikes, people don’t know where to start looking. For more information on setting up your family emergency plan, check out www.ready.gov.
– Listen carefully to your local emergency management officials. They often know best what’s happening in the area. If they ask people to evacuate, please do so. If they ask people to stay in place, please stay where you are, if it is safe to do so. They often have specific reasons for asking.
– One big thing we noticed during Hurricane Harvey was the use of Social Media. People were using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to let people know they were safe or if they needed help. That really seemed to help focus community efforts. Please use these tools to maintain contact with your community.
Finally, we want to encourage everyone to visit the NAD’s website and check out our position paper on Emergency Management. The paper has information on how to advocate for better access in emergency situations.
We encourage everyone to be safe and to be aware. Thank you.
Video fades to a soft white background with several different font types showing “NAD” very quickly. Copyright video ends with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Blue text below the logo appears, “A production of the National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2017 All Rights Reserved”.