Monday, November 05, 2012

Getting deaf people the word in a disaster

Mayor Bloomberg's sign language interpreter became a star for her colorful signing--she even had a spoof on SNL. (She is not the woman pictured.)

But having an interpreter present at every disaster press conference and announcement takes some doing.

Writing in Emergency Management, Sept 24, 2012, Justine Brown says since 9/11 preparedness has been a watchword, but help for the disabled is still lagging.

Case in point: Deaf people. According to an interpreter, they think the govt does not care about them. And deaf people are just a segment of the 54 million disabled in this country.

Interpreters, in this case, need to be contracted beforehand and get to know emergency personnel and be in on planning.

Officials are also looking at Twitter to contact nonhearing citizens. But Twitter can contain a bunch of hooey—so this is a problem.

Like all first responders, interpreters would have to leave their own families and pets to help others. This takes education—and money.

Everything takes money.

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