Harris is ready to roll out a new accessible alert system

HOUSTON, Texas – Harris County residents with certain disabilities will now have better access to potentially life-saving information, thanks to a new accessible alert system developed by the Office of Emergency Management. and Harris County Homeland Security released on October 26.

According to Francisco Sanchez, deputy coordinator of HCOHSEM, known as the Ready Harris Accessible Alert System, the new program will provide accessible alerts, alerts and preparedness information. for people who are deaf, blind, hard of hearing, blind deaf or have low vision. . In addition, Sanchez said the system will allow HCOHSEM to better reach individuals with low English and Spanish literacy.

“According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Harris County is home to the fifth-largest population of people with various forms of disability and the second-largest population of older adults with disabilities in the United States.” , Sanchez said in an October 26 press conference. . “Harris County is now stronger than ever, providing emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation information in a way that is more accessible to many underserved communities. our service.”

According to Sanchez, the new system, capable of reading Braille, can also send emergency alerts with sign language interpretation along with voiceovers and closed captioning in English and Spanish. The system works with video-enabled devices such as computers, laptops, mobile phones and wireless braille readers.

“In my more than 15 years of work here, this is one of the most important public and technology rollouts we’ve had,” Sanchez said. “Getting emergency public information isn’t difficult. This makes it easier and is just one example of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in serving the residents of the County. Harris.”

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Deaf Link CEO Kay Chiodo, who partnered with HCOHSEM on the project, appreciated the district’s effort in making the information accessible.

“This is a big day in the history of people with disabilities, especially the deaf and hard of hearing community,” Chiodo said at an October 26 press conference. “We are so grateful that this is happening and [for] examples that we are setting here today for all over our country. This shows what inclusion really looks like. “

To sign up for Ready Harris Accessible Alerts, text AHAS to 281-609-9093 or click here.

“The media plays a central role in disaster recovery, connecting survivors to resources and facilitating collective action, so we can’t leave anyone behind.” Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County said in a statement. “All of our communities have access to messaging and alerting systems, and this service will provide a much-needed lifeline for people with disabilities.”

For more on this story, keep reading from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.

The introductory video above is from an earlier report. Harris is ready to roll out a new accessible alert system

Dais Johnston

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