According to a study by Gallaudet University in 2005, roughly four out of every 1000 people are “functionally deaf,” meaning they cannot hear normal conversations. Additionally, 14% of the population of the United States suffers from some kind of hearing impairment. That means nearly 43 million people suffer from some sort of hearing loss and may struggle to provide or receive severe weather information.
In 2010, Donice Kaufman of Bridges, Sandy Cohen of Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Thom Roberts of the Tennessee Council for the Deaf, Deaf Blind, and Hard of Hearing, saw a need for a coalition of organizations throughout Davidson and surround counties to find ways through community partnerships to provide alert services that are non-auditory reliant and education on how to use them. Their other objective was to educate the hearing world about Deaf culture and technologies available to people with hearing loss and their need for communication access. In 2011, the Nashville Chapter of the American Red Cross, Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, the National Weather Service in Nashville, and the Tennessee Council on Deaf and Hard of Hearing joined the coalition, dubbed it Emergency Awareness and Readiness Services (EARS) for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and devised mission and vision statements. EARS is currently housed at Bridges but remains a collaborative effort on the part of all organizations involved.
One such partnership, consisting of the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross, Nashville Metro Office of Emergency Management, the Tennessee State Department of Health Services, and Metro Nashville Department of Health, which are all participants on the EARS committee, have all come together to provide an opportunity for the Deaf and hard of hearing of Middle Tennessee to receive official National Weather Service Storm Spotter Training and NOAA Weather Radios with strobe light and bed shaker attachments for free.
On Saturday September 21st, 2013, the EARS organization is excited to provide a training workshop for the Deaf and hard of hearing also called EARS (Emergency Alert Radio Symposium). This workshop will begin at 1 PM and last until 5 PM on Saturday September 21st. The training will be an afternoon-long series of short presentations and booth displays all designed to provide the Deaf and hard of hearing community with all the severe weather awareness and preparedness information you could ask for! Presentations will consist of general emergency preparedness training from the Nashville Metro Office of Emergency Management, how to build an emergency kit from the American Red Cross, and official SKYWARN Spotter Training from the National Weather Service. Various information booths will be in attendance as well to provide even more information on all things severe weather and general preparedness!
The day will conclude with everyone* receiving a free NOAA Weather Radio with strobe light and bed shaker attachments! This is essential in the Middle Tennessee area due to the high risk of severe weather occurring during the overnight hours. This made possible by the Metro Nashville Department of Health!
So if you or someone in your household are Deaf or hard of hearing, come on out on Saturday September 21st at the American Red Cross Auditorium (2201 Charlotte Ave) and spend the afternoon learning about important live-saving severe weather information and receive your very own NOAA Weather Radio!
*Limit one radio per household