Special alert system for deaf, anyone?

While browsing for local news related to the deaf, I caught this article printed in one of our major online newspaper. It says that the weather bureau official urged the government and media entities to provide early warnings of life threatening events to the deaf citizens.

I definitely agree that the deaf needs to be forewarned about impending disasters and other calamities. However, I was wondering if there are already new technologies that addresses these needs. This call is also very timely.

I was watching CNN the other day about the news involving Israeli missiles striking strategic houses of Gaza City officials. While the lady reporter was covering the event, a very loud siren was heard at the background which signals an incoming missile to hit near their place. The news crew hurriedly scampered to safety. The rest of us who can hear are immediately warned of the imminent danger. What about our deaf brothers and sisters? How can they be forewarned? Any ideas?

Here is the news article:

Special weather alert system for deaf sought

A weather bureau official yesterday urged disaster managers and radio and television station owners in the country to establish a system that would help provide timely, critical warnings of life threatening events to the deaf and those with difficulty in hearing.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather branch chief Nathaniel Cruz issued the call in line with the celebration of National Deaf Awareness Week.

Cruz said owners of broadcast stations and disaster officials must think of a way to provide deaf persons with special weather forecasts.

“Truly empowering is television’s potential to provide special weather updates and advisories for the deaf community,” he said.

This can be made possible in some instances by sign language through an interpreter in an insert on the screen, he explained.

Cruz said that in the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) to alert the deaf and those with difficulty in hearing about the weather.

He lamented that the government has no capability to acquire such instruments because of its limited budget.

“What we can only do is provide them with weather forecasts,” Cruz told The STAR. – Helen Flores

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