Deaf populations have historically struggled to gain access to information in their daily lives, a struggle which is exacerbated during disasters and emergencies. Over 1 million Arizona residents have a hearing loss, and approximately 25,000 of those individuals are culturally Deaf and their primary language is American Sign Language (ASL).
The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA), Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM) and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) partnered to develop a program to train and streamline the activation of communication resources.
Equally Effective Communication
DEMA administers the Emergency Response Interpreter Credentialing (ERIC) program, disaster training for American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Captioners for all-hazard incidents. The 3-day training includes the Incident Command System, content and vocabulary related to four major types of disasters in Arizona, and practical training on integrating into an emergency response team.
ERIC trained ASL Interpreters and CART Captioners may be ordered for any type and complexity of incident by any land management (county, state, federal, tribal, etc.), emergency management (municipal, county, state, tribal) or emergency response agency (American Red Cross, etc.).
Requesting ERIC Resources
Emergency response agencies can use the Sample Accessible Communication Protocol to request ERIC resources to provide accessible communication to Deaf and hard of hearing residents.
Effective August 3, 2018, Arizona government entities at the municipal, county and state level are required, per A.R.S. § 9-500.41, A.R.S. § 11-269.20, and A.R.S. § 41-5202, to ensure that communications with persons with disabilities, including online communications and emergency communications, are equally as effective as communications with persons without disabilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).