160673 Emergency Communication for the Hard of Hearing, Deaf and Deaf-Blind Population

Monday, November 5, 2007: 5:30 PM

Ijeoma Agulefo, MPH , Emergency Communication Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Gail Williams, MPH, CHES , Emergency Communication Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
The CDC Emergency Communication System (ECS) plays an integral role in communication efforts as it ensures that CDC reaches diverse audiences with rapid, effective, and consistent emergency communication. The mission of the Community Health Education Team (CHET) is to provide ECS with expertise in implementing behavioral interventions and tailoring messages specific to communities affected by public health emergencies. In an emergency, many people with no hearing loss have difficulty hearing. Developing an effective emergency communication system for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing will help everyone because involving this population in the message design, will ensure that messages are tailored to meet their specific needs. In addition, their involvement in the post event stage will ensure that any communication challenges that were faced during the event will be addressed and rectified in preparation for a future event (CEPIN, 2006). The events of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath exposed many glaring weaknesses in the emergency preparedness infrastructure that compromised the safety and security of 28 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind. In light of all this, CHET has formed a workgroup with several local and national organizations whose consumers are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind to identify the most important information and education needs of this diverse population during an emergency. The workgroup convened in early 2007 to align the various strategic approaches and to develop, maintain and evaluate CDC ECS communication efforts for those who are hard of hearing, deaf and deaf-blind.

Learning Objectives:
As a result of this session, participants will be familiar with the national organizations that work to insure emergency communication messages reach those who are hard of hearing, deaf and deaf-blind. As a result of this session, participants will be familiar with the CDC Emergency Communication Systemís channels for dissemination of emergency information.

Keywords: Deaf, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.