I wonder how many of you are aware that the best way to prepare for disasters or Emergency are to prepare in advanced.  The red cross gave training on how to create a kit that is known as emergency preparedness.  This information brochure by the American Red Cross by clicking here.  However, Rochester, NY, has been giving real time scripting caption to our deaf population.  And, the caption of the local news are really terrible in the way that we barely can understand the caption.  I wrote an article for the Democrat and Chronicle Speaking Out article on page 21A (if you subscribe check it out.  If you do not, go pick up the paper today as of Saturday, November 17, 2012).   But, the link to the website article can be found below, please visit the link:


Enjoy! Dean DeRusso


Don’t ignore deaf population – 12:24 AM, Nov 17, 2012

Rochester has the largest deaf population, per capita, in the United States, yet our local broadcast media continue to ignore us. What happened during Superstorm Sandy is a perfect example.

While a potential hurricane was bearing down on Rochester, County Executive Maggie Brooks and Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards sent a number of press releases to the media to warn citizens of the approaching danger. All of these critical, life-saving announcements were reported on our local news stations as “emergency reports” and “breaking news.” Because these reports were live, there was no captioning. A storm was coming that could endanger the lives in Monroe County and thousands of people were not considered important enough to be informed. What happened during this time was irresponsible, dangerous and possibly illegal.

On a daily basis, our local television stations use a method of captioning newscasts that makes it impossible for deaf people in the area to understand what is being said. I challenge any hearing person in town to watch their favorite local news broadcast with the sound off and the captioning on. You will have no idea what they are talking about. That is why most deaf people do not watch local newscasts in Rochester. Sadly, the FCC does not require Rochester stations to provide live captioning, but when there is an emergency, they are required to do so. There are no exceptions.

At the same time, captioning is not the most effective method of communicating to some deaf people, as written English is not their primary method of communication. A sign language interpreter would make the messages that go out more effective than captions. Why not add those bubble interpreters during emergency announcements?

Monroe County, Rochester and our local public media are required to prepare for disasters. This includes having funding available, in advance, for sign language interpreters and live captioning to be shown on television to reach the large deaf population. From what we saw with Sandy, there is no preparation at all. Does a deaf person have to die from their negligence before action is taken?

DeRusso, who is deaf, is Deaf Systems Advocate, Regional Center for Independent Living, Advocacy and Independent Living Services for Individuals.

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