JFD: Guideline of special support for deaf people in shelters

March 16, 2011
What kind of difficulties do deaf people have?

They have information and to communication barriers.
You may not be aware of deaf people at first sight. They have difficulties to get information and to communicate with people, such as to receive important news or to tell their needs in their ordinary daily life. Thus they are left behind from the emergency announcement because of deafness.
For example, they cannot receive food and water because they cannot hear the voice of people providing food and water so do not know that they are being handed out. What makes it worse is that many people can hardly recognize that there are deaf people in their area. And then they cannot get necessary information or cannot communicate very well and they will be isolated.
They have variety of communication methods such as sign language, writing and slowly speaking, depending on each individual.

How to deal with it?
Please put up placards like “Deaf” or “Sign language” at the reception or the head office of shelters. Also you may walk around with the placards to make sure if there are deaf people around the area.
  • If there are deaf people:
    • If you find deaf people, please contact the disaster prevention office, the deaf association and the information center for the deaf in each prefecture, and also the government welfare office.
    • Please ask deaf people what communication means they prefer, such as talking in a loud voice, sign language or writing.
    • Please tell the person in charge and neighbors about the deaf people and let them support the deaf people by writing right away informing the distribution of food and water and so on.
    • Deaf people may put scarf or ribbon as a marking to be recognized that they are deaf, but in this case their agreement is essential. The deaf should not be forced to wear scarfs or ribbons and will only wear them if they feel comfortable in doing so.
    • Lip reading is not enough to communicate correctly. Please try to communicate by writing or using cell phone email screen. You cannot sign or write in the dark when the power goes down, therefore please keep flashlight always nearby.
  • TV installation
    • In shelters they often send information about earthquake by TV or radio, but deaf people cannot understand it at all without sign language interpreter or captions. CS Organization of Broadcasting for People with Disability provides “Medekiku Terebi” with sign language and captions for deaf people. Please put “EYE Dragon III” data receiving device for deaf people (CS data receiver), in shelters. Please inquire the details of EYE Dragon III from the customer center.(http://eye-dragon.astem-co.co.jp/
  • In an evacuated area, please locate deaf people in the neighbor beforehand and when you hear the call for evacuation in emergency broadcast system, please inform them immediately.

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