Hi, my name is David Salazar, I was born Deaf and have low vision. It’s extremely important that government agencies and emergency managers understand that traditional emergency alerting methods do not provide equal access to people who are Deaf and rely on American Sign Language (ASL).
Not every person who is Deaf is proficient in English, many of us rely on our native language, ASL, which is a visual language that has no roots in English. ASL is one of the most taught foreign languages in our colleges today.
One of the primary responsibilities of emergency managers is to ensure public safety. Title III of the ADA says that state and local governments need to use warning methods that ensure all residents will have the information necessary to make sound decisions and take appropriate, responsible action. When Emergency Managers do not provide us with the ability to clearly access and comprehend this information, they place us and our families in danger.
I am a man who is Deaf, I am not embarrassed or feel that I need to apologize that my primary language is ASL! ASL provides me with “clear and effective” communication and best accommodates my communication needs. I should not be asked to accept anything less, especially when it comes to information that could save my life!
Help us educate our nation! If you or someone you know is Deaf and has a story or comment about how important it is to have emergency information and alerts in ASL, send your video stories (1 to 2 minutes long) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t know how to make or send your video, contact me at email@example.com and I will do my best to assist you!
Be sure to check out the “Our Champions” page to learn how some Emergency Managers are providing inclusion for their residents who are Deaf and rely on ASL!