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March 7, 2003

Plan to make life safer for the deaf

From: Wandsworth Borough Guardian, UK - 07 Mar 2003

By Paul Askew

The lives of Wandsworth residents affected by hearing loss will be made safer thanks to a new initiative raising awareness on safety, transport and employment opportunities across the capital.

London: Access to the Capital is a booklet, video and poster campaign produced by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and details the work currently being done to improve deaf people's lives, highlighting the services and equipment available to them.

Funded by the London Development Agency, the information covers everything from work being done on public announcement systems at stations to the provision of flashing and vibrating fire alarms, to sign language interpreters being made available at police interviews.

Clare Flory, 28, who lives in Tooting and has been deaf since birth, attended the launch at the London mayor's City Hall.

She said: "The initiatives will make life much easier for people who are deaf and hard of hearing like myself, who frequently encounter difficult situations in their daily travel which hearing people are oblivious to."

Clare, who works as a senior events officer with the RNID, added that one of the main difficulties she encountered was with Tube tannoy announcements.

"It is impossible for me to hear and often leads me to get the wrong train, or have to ask people what is being said," she explained.

"I am very independent and this really annoys me because I have to depend on others to get this information."

Transport for London is currently working with RNID technicians on improving information points and ways of linking the public address systems in Tube stations with in-

formation boards.

Addressing improvements in safety, RNID chief executive, John Low, said: "It's a disturbing fact that 20 per cent of people who die in fires have a disability.

"Something as simple as a flashing or vibrating alarm is an effective way of ensuring deaf people are safer in their homes."

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