Excerpt from: Loan Safe (click for full article)
Five tools new to help people who are deaf, hard of hearing or blind are being used for Hurricane Sandy disaster response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At New York disaster recovery centers, survivors who are blind or have low vision are using text-to-speech software and a variety of magnifiers to access FEMA information. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing are offered enhanced listening devices, iPad 3s with real-time-video remote sign language interpreting apps, and captioned phones to get disaster recovery information accessible to them.
These five assistive technology tools are part of a kit that costs FEMA less than $4,000. For price comparison, a single sign-language interpreter at one disaster recovery center can cost more than $400-a-day. (Federal law mandates that equal access to effective communication be available the entire time that a recovery center is open, usually eight hours daily.) On-site interpreters are available upon request, but for immediate access, interpreters are provided via on-line Wi-Fi and cellular connections, similar to the use of Skype.