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Emergency Management Plans Should Incorporate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Citizens

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 11, 2018

The imminent landfall of Hurricane Florence tells us that we are in the midst of a time of year that has become known as “hurricane season.” Sadly, it is also a period when we are reminded that the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are sometimes minimized and even forgotten during an emergency.

Approximately 35 million Americans are hearing impaired. It has been well documented that training designed to help communicate with this community during a disaster is rare, and frequently lacks standardization or integration into a formal emergency management plan.

All too often, crucial information is delivered infrequently, late, and is often missing critical facts – if it is delivered at all. These dangerous communication gaps leave the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with an incomplete understanding of what is happening, when it will happen, and what steps they are expected to take.

What can your community do to better communicate with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing when faced with an emergency?

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Language Assistance Must be a Priority During Emergency Response

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 10, 2018

Language access should be a key component of every disaster plan, as roughly one in eight United States residents is limited-English proficient (LEP). Unfortunately, caring for the needs of LEP populations in the face of an emergency is not always the priority it should be. If LEP individuals are not able to access disaster information in a language they can understand, the consequences can be deadly.

A disaster plan typically incorporates three phases: preparedness, response, and recovery.

Emergency response is foremost on our minds as Hurricane Florence steers toward land. Today we will focus on effectively managing the communication of information about sheltering, evacuation, transportation, and health care before and during an emergency to LEP individuals.

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