Deaf group gets DHS grant

Homeland Security Department officials announced last week a $1.4 million competitive training grant to Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc. (TDI) for developing a network that will provide information on disaster preparedness and homeland security to individuals with hearing disabilities.

TDI's stated goal is to enable people nationwide who are deaf and hard of hearing to receive emergency alerts in a format they can comprehend.

Organization officials plan to continue their work with industry to raise awareness of technology such as radios that can provide information with captioning during emergencies, wireless options for IP relay services and specialized equipment such as amplified phones, which can run on battery power.

A national report from the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons gave a failing grade to emergency communications systems for people who can't hear well, said Cheryl Heppner, executive director of the center.

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