ADA National Network Learning Session: Clear & Effective Emergency Communications over Wireless Devices

ADA National Network Learning Session: Clear & Effective Emergency Communications over Wireless Devices

11th May, 2017

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving emergency messages that inform those in the impacted area and compel them to take protective actions. Emergency information is not always presented in formats accessible to people with different levels of sensory, cognitive and physical disabilities. Likewise, the devices on which they receive emergency information are not always optimized for use with emergency information tools such as WEA, subscription-based alerting systems, or local and state apps (e.g. Ready Georgia). This webinar will address composing message content and delivery format features that can enhance the accessibility of the information to people with disabilities. We will also cover smartphone features that can improve the accessibility of emergency messages. The webinar will close with a description and demonstration of an accessible system, Deaf Link's Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS).

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about the use of wireless emergency communications tools by people with disabilities, as well as their expressed needs and preferences.
  • Understand the emergency message content tips that improve accessibility, trust, and reliability of emergency information.
  • Understand the "How-to's" for subscribing and enabling accessible emergency alerts on Android and iOS devices for people with disabilities.
  • Understand the recommendations for trustworthy apps, internet resources, and social media feeds related to accessible emergency alerts
  • Expanded understanding of how to effectively alert members of the Deaf community.


Kay Chiodo is a certified ASL interpreter and subject matter expert in accessible communications. She has testified before the FCC and Congress regarding the need for accessible emergency information. She is the CEO of Deaf Link, Inc. a company that leads the nation in the development and implementation of services to support inclusion for people with sensory disabilities in emergency preparedness before, during and after a disaster. In 2005, Deaf Link's Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS) sent the nation's first accessible alert (ASL, Voice, Text, Braille accessible) to residents in Houston for Hurricane Rita. Ms. Chiodo has received national recognition and awards for Deaf Link's services including the 2008 COMPUTERWORLD - 21st Century Achievement Award and the 2009 Cleve Allen Award for outstanding support of Emergency Management in the delivery of accessible emergency information and alerts.

Salimah LaForce is a research analyst at the Center for Advanced Communications Policy, the home of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). She conducts consumer, policy and industry research and serves as project director for the Wireless RERC policy and outreach initiatives. Salimah is editor of the monthly policy newsletter, Technology and Disability Policy Highlights, for more than ten years; and has co-authored more than 65 conference papers, presentations, reports, and federal regulatory filings.

Ben Lippincott is task leader for the Wireless RERC's outreach to consumers with disabilities. Ben has been leading user outreach and working closely to promote industry relations for over 12 years. He is co-editor of the Wireless RERC consumer website and editor of the Re: Wireless electronic newsletter. Ben has been the lead for a nationwide rollout of a series of consumer education workshops that highlight the accessibility features of smartphones. The workshops are called Wireless Independence Now (WIN) and are produced in collaboration with ATT.