Emergency Preparedness - Archive

Indiana helps lead way in implementation of 911 texting

February 24, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness, Technology



The Tribune
The Associated Press
February 22, 2015

 — All but four of Indiana’s 92 counties have signed on a system that allows phone users to send a text to 911 when they need emergency help, putting the state at the forefront of a technology that’s slowly making its way across the country.

Only Vermont and Maine have all counties accepting text messages to 911, the Palladium-Item reported (http://pinews.co/1vSsHlO ). Fifteen other states have a few counties each that participate in the “Text to 911″ system.

“It will eventually make it across the nation,” said Matthew Cain, deputy director of Wayne County Emergency Communications, which volunteered to be one of five pilot counties to explore the texting option. “It’s mainly geared toward the deaf community and the hard-of-hearing community, but it also benefits others when it’s unsafe to call.”

A federal order required all wireless carriers and text-messaging providers to allow users to send texts to local 911 dispatchers by the end of 2014.

In Indiana, only Lake, Jasper, Marion and Ripley counties have not accepted the system.

Cain said calling is still the best option for contacting 911 because communication is quicker between the dispatcher and the caller. But text messages are useful when a person has a hearing or speech impairment or when it’s unsafe for a person to speak, such as in cases of an abduction or domestic situation.

Rockingham, NC – UPDATE: 911 now just a text message away

January 15, 2015 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness



By Melonie Flomer

January 05. 2015

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County 911 now has the ability to receive text-to-911 messages through the four major wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Donna Wright, director of Richmond County Emergency Services, said the elements have been in place for text-to-911 enhancement since May 20, when her department had all its requests for public safety answering points ready for when the carriers begin testing in July.

At that time, the service was active only in Durham County and its sole provider was Verizon. The Federal Communications Commission required that all wireless carriers provide the capability by Dec. 31.

“The text works just like a wireless call and will provide us with the latitude and longitude of the origin of the text,” Wright told the Daily Journal last summer. “From there, we can use the device’s GPS to triangulate that location. Even if the person is moving or being moved, we can see it. And it works regardless of how a person has their device’s GPS settings configured. We can still see it.”

Read More . . .


Job Announcement: Disability Integration Advisor – ASL Specialty

December 17, 2014 in Emergency Preparedness, Employment



Dear Colleagues,

The Office of Disability Integration and Coordination at FEMA is now accepting applications for a Disability Integration Advisor position with an American Sign Language (ASL) specialty. The open period for this announcement is from Monday, December 15, 2014 to Thursday, January 15, 2015.  To apply for this position or for full information, including key requirements and a description of duties, please click the following link to access the job announcement through USAJobs.govhttps://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/389257100.

If you have any questions, please contact Shannon Blair at shannon.blair@fema.dhs.gov or by phone number 800-879-6076.

Job Title: Disability Integration Advisor (American Sign Language Specialty)
Department: Department Of Homeland Security
Agency: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Job Announcement Number: FEMA-15-SB-011-RSV

Salary Range
: $39.97 to $39.97 / Per Hour
Open Period: Monday, December 15, 2014 to Thursday, January 15, 2015
Series & Grade: AD-0301-00
Position Information: Temporary – Intermittent employment not to exceed 2 years
Duty Locations:  MANY vacancies – Location Negotiable After Selection, United States
Who May Apply: All United States Citizens
Security Clearance: Public Trust – Background Investigation
Supervisory Status: No

As a Disability Integration Advisor (American Sign Language Specialty) in FEMA’s Reservist Program, you will be responsible for:

Providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation to meet the communications requirements of disaster survivors, FEMA employees, and the general public throughout emergency operations, programs and services while deployed to disasters.

Providing guidance regarding effective communication access in all phases of emergency response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness.

Providing interpreting services to achieve equal access to effective communication between Disability Integration Advisors, Disability Advisor Leads and Command and General Staff including:

  • Working collaboratively and providing guidance to Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, External Affairs, Disaster Survivor Assistance, Individual Assistance, Recovery and other program areas that interface with the community.
  • Providing guidance for State and local governmental agencies to assist with ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to programs and services.
  • In collaboration with Support Services Branch or designee, provides guidance & technical assistance to Individual Assistance, Information Technology and Logistics staff to establish accessibility at Disaster Recovery Center and other field locations.

Toronto police launch text 9-1-1 service for hearing impaired

December 9, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness



Global News
By David Shum
Web Producer

TORONTO – Toronto police, along with emergency services partners, have announced the “T9-1-1″ texting service is now available in the City of Toronto.

T9-1-1 is a service that allows members of the public with hearing and speech impairments to call 9-1-1 during an emergency and interact with a 9-1-1 call-taker by text message.

Police say members of the deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired (DHHSI) community must register with their wireless service provider to be eligible to use this service.

A special application allows the 9-1-1 call-taker to recognize the call as coming from a registered cell phone associated with a DHHSI member.

Police also want to remind people that they can only access 9-1-1 services from their registered cell phone and only in parts of Canada where the service has been deployed.

Watch Video



Officials say 911 texting service to report emergencies coming soon to Omaha, NE

November 11, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Technology



Lincoln Journal Star
November 08, 2014

LINCOLN, Nebraska — He always thought they were saying “lots of love.” It turns out, all those people who text messaged “LOL” to Mark Conroy were just laughing at him.

Conroy’s confusion about the acronym for “laugh out loud” is among a whole list of concerns he’ll need to address come December, when people in the Omaha and Kearney areas will be able to start texting 911 to report emergencies, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1p8uik8 ) reported.

Text-to-911 service should go live around Omaha on Dec. 15, says Conroy, director of Douglas County’s 911 center. In Buffalo County, Sheriff Neil Miller expects the Kearney area’s system to be ready soon after.

Lincoln will have to wait.

“We don’t want your text message,” said Tom Casady, the city’s public safety director. “We can’t handle it.”

Lincoln and more than a dozen counties in Southeast Nebraska are in the process of replacing their individual 911 systems with a single hub that would route callers to their local 911 centers. The switch will take time and could initially cost upward of $1 million to $2 million, although it is intended to save money in the long run.

And while the new equipment should make enabling text-to-911 easier for Lincoln and its neighbors, Casady says he’s in no rush to adopt technology that is “not quite ready for primetime yet.”

Read More  . . .

Verizon 911 Texting in Frederick County, Md. to Expand

May 23, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness


05/19/2014 05:01 PM
Original Article

FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick County, Maryland is the sixth county in the country to implement 911 texting through Verizon, according to local emergency officials. They say they pushed to become one of the first last year and now the four major wireless carriers in the Country made the feature available.

“The Maryland School for the Deaf is located in Fredrick. We have a large population of deaf and hearing impaired so we’ve felt everyone needs access to 911, so we’ve been very proactive and been pushing to be a leader in texting 911 to allow everyone that direct access to 911,” said Chip Jewell, director of Frederick County emergency communications.

The Federal Communications Commission said they hope to expand the program once it’s been tested in places like Frederick County. Chip Jewell said he believes the texting systems should be available on all four major wireless carriers by the end of next year.

Read more . . .

What You Need to Know About Text-to-911

May 16, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Technology



FCC’s  ASL & Captioned video on what you need to know about Text to 911

Click to goto FCC ASL captioned Video

Click to goto FCC.gov  ASL captioned Video
about TEXT to 911
(Video Not Mobile Phone Friendly)


FCC.gov  Print Out Guide

Text-to-911 Guide (pdf)

You Can Now Text 9-1-1 in Case of Emergency

May 16, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness


Source: http://mashable.com/2014/05/15/text-emergency-911/

Starting on Thursday, people in select locations across the country can text 9-1-1 with emergencies if they are unable to call them in.

The Federal Communications Commission is rolling out the service to make it easier to contact 9-1-1 for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech disability or are in a situation in which making a call could be dangerous. The FCC’s website states that making a phone call is still the best option when possible, because it allows the person calling in to relay information more quickly. First responders can also triangulate the caller’s location with a phone call, something that can’t be done via text.

To that point, the FCC asks that anyone texting 9-1-1 provide information about the situation and his or her exact location. The providers supporting the service include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

The initial rollout [PDF] includes areas of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Though only people living in certain parts of those states can text 9-1-1 starting on Thursday, the FCC says anyone with a cellphone and enough service will be able to do so by the end of 2014.

Anyone who texts 9-1-1 in an area where emergency call centers do not yet support texts will receive a bounce-back message, informing them the text has not been sent and they should try to call instead.

Call centers are still updating their systems to be compatible with texts. According to the FCC’s site, anyone who wants to know whether their area has adopted the new technology can call their cellphone providers.

Association for Airline Passenger Rights Partners with Caption First for Access

May 8, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Transportation


Association for Airline Passenger Rights and Caption First Announce Partnership to Promote Greater Accessibility

May 06, 2014 from http://www.eturbonews.com/45444/association-airline-passenger-rights-and-caption-first-announce-AAPR-logo-300x300

The Association for Airline Passenger Rights, (AAPR) today announced a new partnership with Caption First, a leading communication access company that provides CART, captioning and
transcription. The AAPR-Caption First partnership will ensure that realtime captioning services are provided for all AAPR information and programs, thereby making them fully accessible for members who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Realtime captioning is the practice of converting the spoken word into instant text. The partnership also aims to identify best practices to be used within the aviation industry to ensure air travel is made more accessible for passengers with hearing impairments.

In February 2010, AAPR was the first airline passenger rights group to call on the U.S. Department of Transportation to require commercial air carriers to provide closed captioning or subtitles on all in-flight entertainment for passengers with hearing loss. While DOT requires that captioning be available on all safety and information-related videos, it does not enforce the same accessibility standard for in-flight entertainment, such as movies and television shows.

“We’re excited to team up with Caption First, who will be aiding us with the conversion of speech into text for all of our programmatic activities,” stated Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, of the partnership with Caption First. “With our partnership, we’re taking the necessary steps to provide word-for-word services that are easy to use whenever, wherever and however needed. In other words, we’re leading by example.”

The seeds for the new partnership were sowed in December 2013, when Caption First served as one of the sponsors for the 1st Annual Airline Accessibility Conference. To learn more about the conference, or download a transcription of it, go to http://www.flyfriendlyskies.com.events.html.

“Caption First is delighted to partner with the Association for Airline Passenger Rights,” stated Patricia Graves, President of Caption First. “For too long the communication needs of passengers who are Deaf or hard of hearing have been ignored. We look forward to working with AAPR to create positive changes in the aviation industry.”

For more information about the Association for Airline Passenger Rights or its partnership with Caption First, please visit www.flyfriendlyskies.com or contact AAPR directly at info@flyfriendlyskies.com.

Virginia – May Sales Tax Holiday: Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment

May 1, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness

When: Sunday, May 25, 2014 through Saturday, May 31, 2014

What’s Exempt: During this seven-day period, purchases of certain supplies and equipment needed for hurricane preparedness will be exempt from sales tax. Retailers may also choose to absorb the tax on other items during the holiday period, but they are responsible for paying the tax on those items to the Department of Taxation.

Other Information:

Canada Gets Text to 9-1-1 Service

March 24, 2014 in Emergency Preparedness

Specialized 9-1-1 text service now available



MARCH 23, 2014

E-Comm, the 9-1-1 answer point serving Metro Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and other parts of southwest B.C. has launched Canada’s first Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) service for members of the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech impaired (DHHSI) community, in conjunction with its emergency-service partners.

The specialized text messaging system means any DHHSI person in E-Comm’s service area who has pre-registered their cell phone for the service will be able to communicate with police, fire and ambulance call-takers in case of emergency. Read more . . . →

More Hot News About Text to 911

February 4, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness

Hot News About Text to 911

From FCC Access Services

On January 30, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a policy statement setting forth goals for achieving text-to-911 and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).   The policy statement highlighted the nation’s four largest wireless telephone providers’ commitment to make text-to-911 available to all their customers nationwide by May 15, 2014.  The FCC encourages other text providers to offer text-to-911 as well and asks for comment on proposals to meet the goals of (1) making sure that people with disabilities have direct access to 911 services and (2) enabling people in situations from which it might be impossible or dangerous to make a voice call (i.e., hostage situation, domestic violence) to make text-to-911 calls.  In his statement at the FCC’s Open Commission Meeting, Chairman Tom Wheeler said it is now up to the 911 call centers, known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), to make themselves ready to accept these texts. 

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Seminar

January 30, 2014 in Emergency Preparedness

DHHIG e-mail and news of the day!

Community Emergency Response Team
(CERT) Training Seminar

A free two-day Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Seminar for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community will be provided at Gallaudet University.  The training seminar will take place on March 5 – 6, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  This event is sponsored and hosted by the CERT, the DC government, Gallaudet University, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Government (DHHIG). To view the flyer for more information, please click here.Please note that Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals who live or work in Washington, D.C. are eligible to attend.  If you do not meet one of the two criteria, then you are not able to participate in this training seminar.  Furthermore, if you register to attend, you are expected to show up to both days of the CERT training seminar, not just one.

The deadline to register is February 7, 2014.  The training seminar will be limited to 60 people, so registration will be on first-come, first-serve basis. All participants who complete the two-day training will receive free backpacks!

To register, please click here.

**ASL interpreters will be provided at the CERT training seminar.  Additional accommodations can be provided upon request.


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Contact email: {info@dhhig.org}
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FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination is Hiring!

January 24, 2014 in Emergency Preparedness, Employment

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Position Opening: Program Assistant

FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination headquarters staff is expanding and has an open vacancy for the position of Program Assistant (GS-0344-06). As the national Disability Integration Advisor CADRE reservist program grows, the need for additional administrative support is necessary.

This person will help serve the nation by assisting all citizens and first responders during disasters or emergency situations by being a part of FEMA’s disaster workforce.  This position is held at FEMA Headquarters in the Washington, DC area. Please feel free to forward this notification to anyone who may be interested in applying for this exciting opportunity to join FEMA and help integrate and coordinate national disability inclusive emergency management efforts.  Please follow the link below to the vacancy announcement onUSAJOBS.GOV.

FEMA – Program Assistant (Open to United States Citizens) – https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/359853700

FEMA Accepting Youth Preparedness Council Applications

January 22, 2014 in Community News, Emergency Preparedness

FEMA Accepting Youth Preparedness Council Applications

The application period for FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council is now open!

Know someone between the ages of 12 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness or who has experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community? If so, encourage them to apply to serve on FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council!

FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) is a unique opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and to participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit. Additionally, they  complete self-selected youth preparedness projects;  voice their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national organizations working on youth preparedness.

FEMA is looking for youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their communities and who want to expand their impact as ambassadors for youth disaster preparedness.

For more information and application materials for the YPC please visit, http://www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness-council.Applications must be received by February 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST.

New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May 2014