NAD Monitoring Accessibility of Response to Natural Disasters
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has been monitoring the recent natural disasters in different states to ensure that the response by federal, state, and local governments; emergency management agencies and disaster relief organizations; and media outlets reporting on the disaster are accessible. We are paying close attention to the tornadoes such as the one in Joplin, Missouri and the overflowing of the Mississippi river in populated areas. The NAD is concerned about the welfare of deaf and hard of hearing people who may be affected. We would like to take this opportunity to remind our members that in severe weather, deaf and hard of hearing people still are among the last to find out emergency information even in the 21st century.
We urge our members in affected areas to contact their local emergency management agencies and connect with the official channels exist regarding evacuation orders, tornado/flooding warnings, and so forth. Moreover, many local jurisdictions and TV stations have warning systems that are accessible via email and SMS (text messaging.).
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require broadcasters and cable operators to make local emergency information accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to persons who are blind or have visual disabilities. This rule means that emergency information must be provided both aurally and in a visual format. If you are aware of a situation where emergency information is being made available to hearing people, but is not accessible to deaf or hard of hearing people, please