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The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management is providing the deaf with emergency aid for the first time



Little Rock, Arkansas – To better serve the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community, the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management is now providing a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course Facilitator program. This program aims to educate individuals on disaster preparedness in dangerous situations.

It’s a FEMA training that shows people how to assist during disaster in their communities,” said Gary Ragen, state community preparedness coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management. “Skills like using a fire extinguisher, being able to shut off home utilities, providing basic first-aid, and even doing a little search and rescue so that they can help out during the initial phase of a disaster until the professionals can arrive, so it’s about partnerships working with the responders and the local communities.

Through this instruction, the deaf can acquire the abilities they need to assist themselves in an emergency.

So we have to be able to become our awareness factor,” said Jeffrey Prail, Certified ADA Specialist and deaf advocate. “And we are able to take care of things and be able to contact each other, other deaf people, and let them know what’s going on.

People who are deaf are more vulnerable in the event of a disaster since they do not have access to communication.

We’ll have like temporary access to TV, so kind of know what’s going on, but once electric goes off, we’re on our own, we can’t hear, so we have to find a way to improve that access to that information,” said Prail. “It needs to become more readily available to provide more safety.

Training in disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, fire safety, and team building is provided to volunteers for the event.

Specifically, we will be talking about individual preparedness like putting together disaster kits for the home, if you’re in a disaster you need to be prepared to be on your own for about three days, that includes water and food,” said Ragen. “If you’re in the earthquake zones and we have an earthquake, you really need to be prepared for about two weeks.

The course concludes on December 2nd, with hours of instruction from 8:30 AM to 5 PM at Lifeway Church, located at 800 Wellington Village Road in Little Rock.



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