Texas Prepares Inclusive and Accessible Emergency Preparedness Videos
When disaster hits, Texans need to be ready.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has developed the DSHS Ready or Not? Campaign website which is dedicated to preparing Texans for emergencies. Use this online resource to build your emergency plan - including family strategies, handy checklists, and functional or access needs considerations for people with disabilities, the elderly, and pets.
The website was established to provide a single resource for all Texans to begin their personal preparedness effort. To that end DSHS has been collaborating with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), to make sure that these important messages are available across the state to people that are deaf or hard of hearing.
Key components to the website’s preparedness campaign are videos about preparing for disasters and living through them. These six videos, each about eight minutes long, were produced as a “Surviving Disaster” series for the DSHS Ready or Not? Campaign. All six videos have been translated into American Sign Language by signers who are deaf. In addition the videos have also been captioned for the benefit of non-signers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“I commend DSHS for taking the initiative to use available and appropriate resources by partnering with DARS to create disaster-preparedness information in an accessible format for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and who otherwise would not have access to the information,” says David Myers, recently retired director of the Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at DARS.
DARS and DSHS continue collaborating with the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross to create additional accessible materials, including, an American Sign Language video welcoming evacuees to emergency shelters and explaining shelter operations.
DARS has also been asked to partner with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and other State Agencies and Disability Stakeholder groups to support the integration of disabilities and functional and access needs into all phases of emergency preparedness, response and recovery. This collaboration will strengthen individuals, families, communities and the State in disaster preparedness.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to contact your local office of emergency management or the DARS Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Will O’Neill, at William.O’Neill@dars.state.tx.us.