Partnership Works to Ensure Whole Community Preparedness

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The Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) have partnered to ensure the Whole Community is better prepared for an emergency or disaster.

Whole Community preparedness means that all individuals and families, governments and businesses understand, engage and invest in what the entire community needs to be prepared.

ACDHH is a resource for self-advocacy and community empowerment for the deaf and hard of hearing community. As such, ACDHH seeks out new opportunities to partner with other members of the Whole Community—such as ADEM--to educate, empower and support Arizonans with hearing loss.

Recently, ACDHH and ADEM, with support from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) developed a series of videos on the topic of emergency preparedness for the deaf and hard of hearing communities. Each of the four videos is delivered in American Sign Language and captioned, and addresses a specific personal preparedness tenet.

Carmen Green, ACDHH Deputy Director is excited about its collaboration with ADEM. “The improved access to emergency preparedness information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities will be a direct result of the preparedness videos,” she said. “Access to information in American Sign Language and captioning is essential for the safety and well-being of citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing before, during and after emergencies.”

In honor of Preparedness Month, ADEM and ACDHH produced four videos covering the tenets of preparedness for the deaf and hard of hearing community:

·         PLAN: Write and rehearse family communication and preparedness plans that identify a family meeting place, account for special needs, and include local emergency numbers and an “out-of-town” contact.

·         PREPARE: Gather enough to sustain you and your family for at least three days. Suggested kit items include first aid supplies, non-perishable food, drinking water (one gallon/per person/per day), a flashlight, batteries and a radio.

·          INQUIRE: Know what the threats are to your community, and how your employer and your child’s school or daycare plans for an emergency. Find out what hazards can affect your community. Know what TV and radio stations to watch or listen to and what websites, like, to monitor in an emergency. 

·         INSPIRE: Be a positive preparedness example for family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. Give blood or take a basic first aid course and invite others to join you. Share what you’ve learned about personal and family preparedness and find ways to involve others in the preparations.

“All Arizonans need to be prepared for a potential disaster,” said Wendy Smith-Reeve, ADEM’s director. “These videos help ADEM reach out and share information with the Whole Community.”

The videos can be viewed on ADEM’s or ACDHH’s YouTube channels: or

Find preparedness and hazard info at

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