Anne: Hi! I’m Anne Sittner Anderson. I’m the Communications Coordinator at the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH).
Andrew: My name is Andrew Palmberg. I am here as a representative for TDAC (Travelers with Disabilities Advisory Committee) at the airport. I represent MNCDHH on the Committee. Today we will talk about what TDAC is, what TDAC does, and why TDAC matters to you.
Anne: Plus we will share our experiences with crash simulations.
(photo of grounded plane and two fire trucks)
Anne: Enjoy watching us! Come on!
Question 1: Can you share information about how you became involved with the Travelers with Disabilities Advisory Committee (TDAC)?
Andrew: I joined TDAC back in 2014. I work here at the Commission (MNCDHH). Mary Hartnett asked me if I wanted to join the airport’s committee to advise the airport on how to make the airport more accessible for people with disabilities. I had interest because I love airplanes and transportation, and I have an architectural background. I said, “Yes. Sure, I will join.” I joined in 2014. I became the Chairperson of that committee in 2015 through today.
Question 2: Tell us more about TDAC. What does it do and how does it work?
Andrew: TDAC is an acronym for the Travelers with Disabilities Advisory Committee at the airport (MSP: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport). The committee was set up in 2014 by Phil Burke, Director of MSP Operations. He had an interest in making the airport (MSP) more accessible for people with disabilities. Our motto is to promote equitable access for all airport users. How do we do that We have members on TDAC who are deaf, blind, deafblind, people with muscular dystrophy, and people with autism. There are several disabilities represented on that committee. We meet about four times a year to discuss accessibility topics the airport wants us to think about and give feedback. We give feedback and the airport decides to establish a new policy or a new service to make the airport more accessible. Since 2014 to now (2018), we are still continuing work on improving the airport and hopefully will continue in the future.
Question 3: What has MSP Airport done to make the airport more accessible?
Andrew: MSP improved accessibility at the airport in many ways. Some examples include VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) at all information booths at the airport. Staff members can use their tablet to connect with the VRI service and speak with deaf or hard of hearing customers who use sign language to communicate. Staff members can help them find restaurants, restrooms, or help. The airport has that accessibility now.
The full interview transcript is available at http://mn.gov/deaf-commission/news/index.jsp?id=1063-349108
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