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January 26, 2005

Hearing-impaired join local training for emergencies

From: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, NY - Jan 26, 2005

Greg Livadas
Staff writer

(January 26, 2005) — About two dozen deaf and hard-of-hearing members of the community are being trained to assist their fellow citizens in the event of an emergency.

Monroe County officials, with the aid of Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Monroe Community College, on Tuesday launched what may be the first training class of its kind for deaf citizens.

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said the program enables the county's Community Emergency Response Team to become "more effective and more responsive to the broader community."

The group meets weekly for seven weeks, learning about emergency responses such as how to help in a mass casualty incident.

The CERT program, which is offered free through MCC's Homeland Security Management Institute and the county's Office of Emergency Preparedness, also will help officials learn what special considerations may be needed for the sizable deaf population here in the event of an emergency. Sign language interpreters will be in each class, and training videos are being captioned.

"It's going to break down the barriers and bring more support for everyone," said Erin Esposito, director of alumni relations for NTID.

Copyright 2005 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.