WRN Ambassador Recognition - North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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Michelle Lammers
  1. What is the mission of your organization?
    The North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) works to ensure that all Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind North Carolinians have the ability to communicate their needs and to receive information easily and effectively in all aspects of their lives, especially their health and well-being.

  2. What has your organization done to promote a Weather Ready Nation? (i.e. what did your WFO recognize your for?)
    The DSDHH Wilmington (N.C.) Regional Center has partnered with multiple agencies, including North Carolina Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, to ensure that Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind and Late Deafened North Carolinians have access to important weather safety and preparedness information during co-hosted educational events. DSDHH has provided equal access to communication during these events through American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), and assistive listening devices. We have also partnered with NOAA/NWS to create and provide ASL messaging through the utilization of a Deaf Interpreter, whose native language is ASL, for their Lightening Safety PSA. We push out NWS weather messaging to our consumers on our e-blast list, most recently during TS Hermine, and share NWS PSAs such as “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” as long as they include Closed Captioning.

  3. What does being an Ambassador mean to you?
    Being a WRN Ambassador means sharing information, increasing awareness, maximizing our impacts, and collaborating with other agencies to ensure the correct information is being pushed out and to increase their awareness of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community’s needs and concerns. It is a wonderful opportunity to be a liaison between NOAA/NWS and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community!

  4. What are your goals for the next year concerning preparedness?
    Our goals for this upcoming year include working with local broadcasters to educate on the importance of Closed Captioning and requirements of FCC in order to provide equal access to communication, especially during weather events and other emergency situations. Additionally, our organization is working on a collaborative project with Brunswick County Emergency Services to create a cache of pre-scripted messages in ASL that can be posted to their website and other outlets in a timely manner. We plan to share what is created with surrounding counties for maximal impact. We hope to partner with NWS on the creation of more PSAs in ASL that can be shared nationally, such as on water safety and rip currents. We will continue to host educational events in our 12-county region to promote knowledge and awareness for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, and Late Deafened North Carolinians of weather safety, preparedness, and how to stay informed via emergency notification systems and weather alert radios with strobe lights and bed-shakers.