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Access to Emergency Alerts for People with Disabilities

Principal researcher

Name: Marcia Brooks

Contact details: WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, WGBH Educational Foundation, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134, United States of America.
Tel: +1 617 300 3431; Fax: +1 617 300 3431
Email: marcia_brooks@wgbh.org

Website: http://ncam.wgbh.org/alerts/index.html

Project details

Start date: 10/2004
End date: 09/2008

Description: The Access to Emergency Alerts project unites emergency alert providers, local information resources, telecommunications industry and public broadcasting representatives, and consumers in a collaborative effort to research and disseminate replicable approaches to make emergency warnings accessible. Alert systems, services and products are developing a range of text and audio alert capabilities that have the potential to serve people with disabilities but most are inconsistent in terms of fully supporting appropriate modalities and accessible interfaces. People who are deaf or hard of hearing and who rely on captioned television news alerts are often left out when emergency broadcasts are not, in fact, captioned. And people who are blind or have low vision watch television to stay informed, but are at a loss when on-screen graphics or text crawls are used to convey information. The use of Web sites, cellphones and other personal devices promise greater freedom, independence and even safety, but usually hit the market with access barriers which present new challenges as well. This project is identifying the gaps that exist between alert systems which deliver information, the unrealized potential of these systems to serve the entire population, and the necessary system protocols, technologies and services that can bridge this gap.

Other organisations involved in this project

Funding for the Access to Emergency Alerts Project is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Opportunities Program.

Last updated: 14/03/2010