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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Deaf Community, #demx Hashtag, Fema, and Homeland Security

Below the following letter is a GREAT visual video, no sound bits, of just how powerful Twitter works. Be sure to check the link to that video. Hashtags are simply a topic with a # in front of it, such as #demx we are using in regards of discussing Nov 9 National test being conducted by FEMA. It is like following a channel on the old CB or ham radio or tv station. It is topical, dedicated to either the topic, or group of people, such as #deaf #ASL #disability #hardofhearing #HOH. If you have a twitter account, check these out by using the "search" at the top of your twitter screen, then you can "save" the search when you find this topic. You will see a timeline of all tweets associated with the hashtag.

Read the letter below and watch the video of how Hashtags were used in Egypt. Fascinating!

This letter is from Homeland Security Program Manager, Susan Brown, and was forwarded to me from researcher and advocate Stephanie Jo Kent. We are encouraged to copy this letter and spread the word not only throughout our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, but to ALL public servers mentioned in this letter:

Hello Everyone,
As you hopefully all are aware, on November 9th FEMA will be conducting a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). FEMA has been doing some outreach to Deaf citizen prior to the test because when the alert appears on the screen it may not look like a test due to the technology of the system. The audio will say it is a test, but that may not be shown on the screen.
A grassroots research project aims to complement the government's assessment of this important national test by collecting information from the Deaf community and - especially - from actors within the broadcast system itself whenever you are aware of the effort (or failure) to accommodate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing needs for visual information: specifically text or sign language interpretation.
All Communication Coordinators, First Responders, and everyone with duties in the Incident Command Structure as well as reporters, journalists, meteorologists, and news media editors, non-Deaf observers, and digital volunteers are invited to use the November 9th test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to participate in a social media communication experiment with Deaf citizens of the United States.
Using use the Twitter hashtag #demx, data will be gathered to investigate whether emergency warnings reach the Deaf community in a timely and understandable manner. The idea is to get as many staff, volunteers and all first responders to tweet whenever you do something related to Deaf before, during or because of the EAS Test.  More info at the following two blogposts: 

This project has been coordinated by Steph Jo Kent, a professional interpreter, researcher and teacher at UMass Amherst.
Please share this information with your colleagues.
Susan L. Brown
Homeland Security Program Manager
Franklin Regional Council of Governments
Western Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council
425 Main St, Suite 20
Greenfield, Ma. 01301
Here is the link to the video of how the Egyptian hashtags reached. It is visual, no audio.


Spread the word. Make a difference. Improve the Emergency Alert System (EAS)

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