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September 29, 2004

TDI Receives Homeland Security Grant to Train Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Emergency Preparedness

From: TDI Press Release - Sep 29, 2004

TDI-L eNotes 9/29/04
TDI Press Release - TDI Receives Homeland Security Grant to Train Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Emergency Preparedness

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 29, 2004

For Photos or other assistance, contact Jim House

Program Contacts:
Claude L. Stout TDI
Sharon Applegate DEAF Inc.
Cheryl Heppner NVRC
Lori Breslow CSD
Rob Roth DCARA

TDI Receives Homeland Security Grant to Train Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Emergency Preparedness

WASHINGTON, D.C. - September 29, 2004 - During a brief ceremony today at Gallaudet University, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) nearly $1.5 million in a two-year project, called Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (or the CEPIN Project) in developing model community education programs for deaf and hard of hearing consumers. TDI will coordinate efforts by specialists in four centers throughout America in promoting emergency preparedness

The CEPIN Project will reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism by providing coordination and oversight of accessibility resources and services in emergency preparedness, homeland security and public safety. The project's goal is to empower individuals nationwide, who are deaf or hard of hearing to work alongside their neighbors before, during and after a crisis, preventing and minimizing damage and promoting faster recovery.

In the CEPIN Project, a National Coordinator at TDI will serve as a national resource, communicating policy developments and best practices to specialists at the four centers around the country. The network will also enable TDI to communicate information about local challenges to appropriate government officials for action. While the specialists will serve their localities, online resources will serve the rest of America.

The CEPIN project regional participants are:

New England & Great Lakes
Serving CT, DE, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT and WI
DEAF, Inc. (a.k.a. Developmental Evaluation and Adjustment Facilities, Inc.)
Allston, (Boston) Massachusetts - Sharon Applegate, Executive Director

Mid-Atlantic & Southeast USA
Serving AL, DC, FL, GA, KY, MD, MS, NC, PR, SC, TN, VA, VI and WV
Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC)
Fairfax, Virginia (near Washington, DC) - Cheryl Heppner, Executive Director

Midwest & Southwest States
Serving AR, CO, IA, KS, LA, MN, MO, NE, NM, ND, OK, SD, TX and WY
CSD (a.k.a. Communication Service for the Deaf - 17 sites in 11 states)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota - Dr. Benjamin J. Soukup, Chief Executive Officer

West Coast & Hawaii
Serving AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT and WA
Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA)
San Leandro, CA (SF Bay Area) - Robert I. Roth, Chief Executive Officer

"TDI is enormously pleased to receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security", said Claude Stout, Executive Director. Stout adds, "In the next two years, we will be committing ourselves to the best of our ability and through collaboration to generate an inclusive community approach to emergency preparedness. Thus, Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-blind, and their contacts will be better equipped and more prepared to deal with any natural or man-made disaster."

"As the Commonwealth's oldest and most comprehensive agency serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, we are delighted to extend our expertise to this critically important effort", said DEAF, Inc. Executive Director Sharon Applegate.

Cheryl Heppner, Executive Director at NVRC said, "For three years NVRC has been very active in researching and writing about the shortcomings in the nation's emergency preparedness infrastructure. We are delighted to be able to have funding to begin to do something to address it."

"Emergency preparedness is a critical issue for everyone in America's heartland, even more so for people who are deaf or hard of hearing", said Dr. Benjamin Soukup, Chief Executive Officer for CSD. Soukup points out, "When dealing with tornados, blizzards or other disasters, being prepared means survival. TDI's grant will help CSD in this important area."

"DCARA looks forward to working with TDI and DHS to meet a critical community service need", says Robert Roth, Executive Director of DCARA in San Leandro, CA. Roth emphasizes, "Deaf and hard of hearing people need to be prepared to get the right information in an appropriate format, so that they can make their own decisions for survival."

About TDI:
Also known as Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc., TDI is a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes equal access to telecommunications and media for individuals who are deaf, late deafened, hard-of-hearing or deaf-blind. Since 1968, TDI has successfully advocated for federal legislation such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Television Decoder Circuitry Act, both of 1990, as well as other legislation and policies mandating greater access to wireless technology, captioning as well as other telecommunication and media technologies. Since its inception, TDI has been promoting access to 9-1-1 centers and other public safety answering points, and is now working to ensure full access to information during natural or manmade disasters and other types of emergencies. TDI publishes annually, a National Directory & Resource Guide, commonly known as The Blue Book, a popular resource book for people with hearing loss, as well as The GA-SK quarterly news magazine. For more information about TDI, go to

About DEAF, Inc.:
Developmental Evaluation and Adjustment Facilities, Inc. (DEAF, Inc.) is a non-profit consumer-run multi-service agency providing an array of comprehensive, community based services to individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing (and their families, friends and employers). We provide services to approximately 22,000 members in the Greater Boston area and in three satellite offices throughout Massachusetts. We are governed by a nine (9) member Board of Directors of whom the majority is Deaf. Our goal is to encourage and empower Deaf people to lead independent and productive lives. We provide support in a fully communication-accessible, Deaf-affirming environment. Our intention is to provide the opportunity for personal and professional growth, leadership skills development and employment while providing the guidance needed so that consumers can effect the changes necessary to ensure their civil rights and build a social environment which welcomes Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people as fully participating community members.

About NVRC:
NVRC is a nonprofit organization primarily serving the Virginia counties of Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun, as well as the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Limited services are provided to Prince William County. More than 180,500 deaf and hard of hearing people live in this Northern Virginia Metro area. NVRC also provides information to residents of Washington, D.C. and Metro Maryland in the areas of emergency preparedness and homeland security.

Since 1987, NVRC has been serving Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing and deafened people and their families, friends, co-workers, employers, educational institutions, businesses, places of worship, community organizations and government agencies. NVRC's mission is to empower deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their families through education, advocacy and community involvement.

Since September 11, 2001, disaster preparedness has been one of NVRC's priorities. NVRC collected information about experiences of local consumers, some who were directly impacted by the attack on the Pentagon, and wrote an article about them. NVRC also worked with the national coalition, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), to document experiences on the national level during 9/11 and thereafter. It has been key to the writing of a detailed national report along with several recommendations.

About CSD:
CSD (a.k.a. Communication Service for the Deaf) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing broad-based services, ensuring public accessibility and increasing public awareness of issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

CSD provides direct assistance to deaf and hard of hearing individuals in six basic areas - human services, relay, interpreting, communications technology, media and community relations and training and development. Through education, counseling, training, advocacy, communication assistance and equipment distribution, CSD provides the opportunity for self-actualization, professional growth, and independence for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

About DCARA:
DCARA is a non-profit, community-based social service agency serving the deaf community. Established in 1962 as one of the first deaf-run agencies in the country, DCARA provides a comprehensive range of services to the deaf, deafened, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing people from 10 offices in 14 California counties (total population 744,755), centered in the San Francisco Bay Area. DCARA is governed by a deaf-majority board of directors, administered by a deaf majority, and staffed by a dedicated team of deaf and hearing people.

DCARA currently works with Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (CARD) to develop an emergency response system in San Leandro, where DCARA's Deaf Community Center is located. DCARA, in collaboration with the California Center on Law and the Deaf, has been involved with ensuring access for the deaf and hard of hearing in emergency-related situations such as hospitals, freeway call boxes, rapid transit and in airports.

DCARA's mission is to promote self-determination, independence, and celebration of American Sign Language among a diverse Deaf community, regardless of their communication background, through its services and programs.

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