Tag: CERT

The Signing Families Mini-Emergency Communication Chart – For When Time Counts! (ASL- English – Spanish – Chinese)

 

SIGNING FAMILIES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION MINI-CHART

This pocket-sized emergency communication chart has FOUR different languages represented. Photos for a dozen important informational signs are in sign language, English, Spanish and Chinese! There is a space for writing with a washable marker allows for efficient communication during challenging situations, such as medical emergencies or disasters. Also, numbers, common symbols (such as for email) and the alphabet is included. This card has a special coating for easy cleaning. This emergency mini – chart has been used by thousands of First Responders and Community Emergency Responder Teams (CERT). Also, valuable for those who work in schools, are involved with service related industries (such as bus drivers, flight attendants, etc.). Restauranteurs and hospitality workers are also using this chart to help customers who are in need of assistance. We offer this chart for those who reside in the United States. Price includes shipping within the USA. Don't want to order via PayPal or don't see a button to order? EMAIL US at the LINK BELOW! Bulk orders needed? EMAIL US! Shipping included, but note: we only ship within the United States. For outside the USA orders – please send an email. Thank you.

$1.49

 

NEED TO CONTACT LOUISE AS SIGNING FAMILIES ABOUT EMERGENCY PRODUCTS?

EMAIL HERE

 

 

mini chart chinese 2

NOT FOR DUPLICATION

 

To learn more about emergency sign language please go to SigningFamilies.com

 

 

 

 

Aside

Hurricane earthquake disaster damage ruined house

It is hard to believe that ten years ago many of us were glued to our television  sets watching a hurricane develop  in the Atlantic Ocean and then slowly but surely find its’ way to the Gulf Coast.  It was named –  Hurricane Katrina.  While no doubt a horrific hurricane that caused millions if not billions in damages, it truly was the flooding from when the levees broke that made this hurricane written in to the history books.  Who can forget the television footage of reporters on boats making their way through what were the beautiful streets of New Orleans? How can people erase the images of people crying out for help?  So many sad memories of those who evacuated, lost everything or suffered trauma that to this day may be unspeakable. It was “Katrina” that cast a dark shadow on the United States’ ability to help their own people during a crisis.  For many, Katrina will forever be remembered as a “one-two- three punch” of a storm.  First the hurricane, then the flooding and then the failure for help to arrive when needed the most.

Related: Video playlist of Hurricane Katrina footage and history

There is no question that we did not prepare nor evacuate and assist those in need to the best of our collective abilities.  Families were shipped off to different locales including sending relatives to opposite sides of the country. I recall meeting families who had been uprooted and sent to the Washington DC- Baltimore area. They simply were in shock. They had nothing.  Our local neighbors and religious organizations offered them food, clothing, toys for the kids and just about anything else we could think of!  I often wondered what has happened to them ten years later.  Did they go home to New Orleans?

Then there were those who refused to leave their homes. Many because they wanted to “ride out the storm”. Yet a good number wouldn’t leave as they couldn’t handle leaving behind a family pet.  Others were unsure of how their elderly relatives or ones with special needs would be able to endure shelters- so they stayed.

And now looking back we now know that for some of these families these were fatal mistakes.

There must be some lessons we have learned since August of 2005? But, what are they?  How did we alter the way we prepare and respond to disasters since Katrina? 

I believe that emergency responders never again want to have what happened during and after Katrina be repeated.  Never again do we want people to feel helpless and hopeless.  As aforementioned, many people failed to evacuate because they couldn’t bring their pets to shelters or  provide for their safety.  Others failed to evacuate because they felt they were “safe” only to be in dire straits when the levees broke.  Lives could have been saved if pets, the elderly and better communication were all in place. Although we cannot undo the tragedies of 2005, we have learned from them.

Thankfully now many laws and initiatives have been instituted that are a direct result of Katrina.  One is regarding the care of animals during emergencies. In some areas, no longer do people need to make a choice. (Read how Congress changed animal care during disasters by clicking here).  People are now encouraged to plan ahead and have “back up plans” for their animals in the event of an emergency.

Communication also has improved as now videos in multiple languages, including American Sign Language (ASL),  have been made available for all to access important information about preparations needed for families to be safe in case of an emergency situation, how to ready for impending disasters, and what to expect from response and recovery.  Local community response teams (CERT) have grown and are now a wonderful grassroots effort to help our citizens be safe, including our most vulnerable members – seniors and those with disabilities.  I can’t rave enough about these amazing people who give beyond measure by engaging the most during a time when many would prefer to go away from a disaster.

Read the changes made with emergency management following “Katrina” – a FEMA Document.

It is amazing how many people are now more responsive to hurricane warnings. After all, Katrina was suppose to be a Category 1 storm that quickly gained momentum and strength.  One of the lessons that many have learned is to have a disaster preparedness kit.  Flashlights, batteries and crank radios are now common place in people’s homes and cars.  The Red Cross has put together a very useful website chocked full of disaster preparedness recommendations.

Remember to plan with your loved ones to prepare before a disaster happens! That is the lesson we ALL can take away from Katrina and apply in preparation for any other  disasters – natural and at the hands of man. As there is bound to be “something” in our future and at least we can be ready.

I am sure that many of you have many more suggestions.  As always, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading and may this hurricane season be kind and gentle and not as catastrophic as Katrina.

~Louise

Maui, I loved you but…

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I recently returned from the lovely Hawaiian Island of Maui.  So beautiful and in some places even exotic. Covered with lovely beaches, including those with black sand.  Surrounded by majestic mountains that are taller than most of the clouds that filtered around the island.

Yes, Maui’s landscape and people are AMAZING but, throughout my visit I kept having a gnawing feeling of concern with this destination.  For an island that has a huge tourism industry and thousands of residents that live within a mile to their shores, I saw no obvious disaster preparedness or safety  information regarding evacuation routes in the event of an earthquakes or tsunami.   At first, I thought I was just was in “vacation mode” and not taking note of area safety posts. So, I inquired about disaster preparedness plans to hotel staff, restaurant owners and people at tourism locations (including park rangers). The answer to my queries usually sounded like this… “Hmm.. good questions.. just head to the mountains- fast”.

One of our vacation apps did mention the yellow warning sirens on the north part of the island- but we couldn’t find any.  After some searching I did find an evacuation map for Maui – online. And, there are considerable  resources regarding earthquake and tsunami safety on official websites for Hawaii preparedness.  But, if one doesn’t go seeking this information, then they could be caught off – guard and perhaps grossly unprepared.

One plus was that I did read in the local newspaper about the Maui CERT group meetings being offered.  It was nice to see that they had an active community emergency response team.

So, Maui community leaders and hotel organizations – please be proactive and give information to your residents and visitors … just in case.   And yes, I will be back … someday… as I did love this island.

Read about the 1868 7.9 earthquake

Maui tsunami’s via oral history links

Thursday, 10/16 at 10:16 a.m. – READY, SET, HOLD ON!

Nearly 25 years ago one of the worst earthquakes happened in the Bay area of California on October 17, 1989.  If history was to repeat itself- would YOU be ready for an earthquake and potential tsunami. Join millions this THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16th at 10:16am for the North American Earthquake drill by ShakeOut.org

This video is in American Sign Language (ASL), voiced and open captioned.

Will you accept the ASL CHALLENGE?

Starting tomorrow, October 1st,  I will be hosting a 31 days, 31 ASL CHALLENGE on  YouTube.     It is my goal to teach people FREE how to communicate using basic sign language.   The signs will be geared for daily living and school terminology with a sprinkle of signs in the event of a disaster or medical emergency.  Sign language has traditionally been considered only used within the Deaf community. However, more and more children and adults with Autism and Down Syndrome are now learning sign for communication, too!  So many reason to learn!

Where to start?

First, set aside up to five minutes a day to learn some basic sign language and practice! If you subscribe to my Youtube channel you will receive reminders every time a new video is uploaded.  Secondly, if you are so inclined, please share these one minute videos with others. And lastly,  enjoy the journey of learning this visual language.

Learn more on FACEBOOK, SIGNING FAMILIES and of course, on my TWITTER stream.

 

 

December Newsletter: 2013 in Review, ASL Style

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Happy December! I know every year has 12 months, yet this year  seemed to have gone by in a flash!  I use to keep better track of the seasons, and time in general,  during those “parenting years”.  Back then I knew what month it was by which PTA project I volunteered to do.  October was the Halloween parade, December was buying teacher holiday gifts, and so on.  Now that my kids are grown and my status is that of having a “low occupancy home”, I realize  that I must  resort to keeping track  of time the old fashioned way- by using the Calendar app on my ipad!    Which explains why the alarm went off yesterday with a reminder that read:  “WRITE ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG TODAY”.

I know myself too well,  so I set another alarm and it went off  today with a bit of attitude  as the reminder message  read – “YOU FORGOT TO WRITE YOUR ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG – DO IT NOW!!”

So here it goes…  Nearly 4800 people have found our SIGNING FAMILIES  Facebook page.  I have used this social media page to help people to learn about sign language  (ASL) and the deaf community.  I also focused during the year on issues regarding Autism, Down Syndrome and education.  Then I sprinkled a hefty dose of humor, inspiration and giveaways!  We grew and grew with more than a thousand new friends joining us!

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Surprisingly, one of the most popular posts  was that of Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter.  In an effort to improve awareness about sign language usage in the United Kingdom, Daniel was asked to pose with a simple sign that asked readers to learn how to sign GOOD MORNING.  I found this article interesting and posted it, too.  WOW – what a response!  In fact, worldwide this campaign went “viral”.  I was glad our little “hamlet” could participate.

As with every good company, we were busy adding products and also revamping our website to reflect the change in how people do business online.  Our SIGNING FAMILIES website now offers online downloads for workshop attendees, more interactive elements and our newest product, the SIGN LANGUAGE EMERGENCY CHART  in American Sign Language with captions in English, Spanish and Mandarin (simplified).  Why did we create a quadra-lingual product? Simply, First Responders asked us to do so to help those with access and functional needs (AFN).  Plain and simple.

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This card has found its’ way in to thousands of emergency vehicles, uniforms and disaster response shelters nationwide. We were the most proud to have been able to donate many to our friends in Oklahoma, where I visited following the awful the series of tornadoes they experienced last May.  I invite people who work as emergency personnel to email me if you wish to learn more and to receive a complimentary copy:  Louise<at>Signing Families <dot> com.

It would be remiss of me to forget to mention that, it has been an honor to have met via workshops and conferences scores of  our First Responders, including CERT / NERT members. These people bravely  go towards disasters when most of us would flee.  I hope that my disaster preparedness and response workshops gave food for thought to all who attended as I know you all taught me so much, too!

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imageMeeoMiia came to us during 2013 to let us know that they were so  inspired by our logo and wanted to use it as a basis for their newest LOVE necklace. We were thrilled!  And, to celebrate we gave one as a giveaway to one of our subscribers!

It seems that wherever life takes me, including to events via OmgInsider or 411 VOICES I find people who are willing to take a few moments and give some love – ASL style. I posted some of my favorites photos below for you to enjoy!

It is no secret that social media overload can happen to anyone.  I am humbled that you found your way to this little ‘ol blog and read it to the end. Feel free to add your blog url below or to comment. Thank you and…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Oklahoma – Rebuilding After Disaster

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

I HEART OKLAHOMA– in a really big way! The nicest people live in a state which sustained some of the worst tragedy at the hands of “Mother Nature”.   I first visited Oklahoma this past June, three weeks after the cities of Moore and Norman were devastated by  EF5 tornados.  I couldn’t believe what I saw then.  It took my breath away to see so much in ruin. So many hearts broken.  I was able to help meet with many at a conference during June and many of us  talked for hours about where one can start with the healing process when your community is shaken.  I know I left Oklahoma with much more than I brought with me. Which is why I was so pleased to have an opportunity this past week to return to beloved Oklahoma at the request of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.   This time we discussed how to plan and prepare for any future disasters.  From individuals to school teachers to bus drivers and to vocational and rehabilitation employees. Yes, it takes a village to keep our communities safe. When I presented yesterday to this amazing group of teachers, counselors, bus drivers and many others at OSD, I learned that despite having repeated disasters  – their communities are not as prepared as they need to be.  No shelter in place plans or preparations for many.  No course of action for bus drivers on what to do during a major disaster or emergency with people who have special needs or deafness.  No evacuation discussions with local emergency or First Responders to assist those with unique challenges, such as individuals in wheelchairs or who are Autistic.  Not much of anything.  These findings  shocked the audience, but didn’t surprise me as Save the Children has Oklahoma (and many more states) listed as failing to have plans in place for disasters when it comes to serving  families and those with disabilities.  Sad. The participants left the session with some information, many with heavy hearts and I hope a “call for change”.   I recognized the resiliency in their spirit. I had seen it before on the faces of many I had known go through the tragedy.  I also know that there is physical and emotional healing occurring daily for them.  I saw the physical when I drove back through Moore, Oklahoma and snapped photos in the very places I had been four months ago.  Emotionally, people seemed less ‘raw’ and more able to seek help and make changes.

This is what I shared during the workshop that I hope will be of value to YOU, so no matter where you live you will be prepared in the event of a disaster.

1- We learn how to help each other and be prepared with each and every disaster. Which is why RedCross.org ,  FEMA.org and many other sites now offer disaster templates and information for families, organizations and schools.

2- If you have a loved one who has special needs, please be sure to add to your readiness kits what they need. Including sweatshirts to block out sounds, sunglasses to make odd visual stimuli easier, mp3 player with ear phones, games, medicines and comfort objects. Be prepared for ALL in your family. Including FIDO who may need to come with you to a shelter.  Have copies of your information on a flashdrive and hard copies made on your person.  Include phone numbers of physicians, insurance agents, relatives and others.  BRING FAMILY PHOTOS in case you are separated to help with reunification. 3- Don’t think it can’t happen to you.  Disaster can happy any time, any place, to any person. 4.-  I’ll do it tomorrow.  This excuse won’t be good enough when the earthquake, tornado or act of terrorism happens tonight. 5-  IDENTIFICATION is essential.  Be sure to have proper ID on yourself and consider using ICE in your phone and on person- ID such as MediPal for those who cannot or are unable to communicate. 6- Ask for help after a disaster.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can impact anyone after a disaster.  You don’t need to be the direct victim of an event to have PTSD. Seek help if you feel pervasively sad, can’t sleep or eat as usual,  or a sense of doom that just won’t go away. 7- Be willing to help others.  Be part of the solution. Be part of your local disaster plan. 8- PRACTICE your plan for evacuation and how to shelter in place BEFORE a disaster.  SHAKEOUT.org is getting ready for a whole country earthquake practice drill. Below you will see photos taken last June 2013 and this last week from Moore, Oklahoma. Thank you for reading.

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DISASTER SAFETY INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – 2015 updated post with additional safety resources

Update: Sadly tornado “season” has been wicked during 2015, therefore I am re – blogging this post that originally posted in 2013. At the bottom of this post are additional safety resources including for earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami and wildfire preparedness.

I could not fathom what must have happened here to make a truck flip and be impaled on these trees.

Today there have been a series of tragic tornadoes that have ripped through the heartland of America causing severe devastation, including loss of life.  Some of the families impacted who have been impacted have family members with special needs.

In an effort to help families and communities who may have some unique challenges during disasters here is some information:

BEFORE A DISASTER

Be prepared.  Alert your local fire department if you have a family member with special needs of any kind, such as physical, sensory, cognitive or other.  Included would be family members with dementia, Alzheimer’s or medical problems.

Have a family plan for sheltering in place and evacuation.

Be sure to have an emergency kit in your home and car.  To know what should be in your emergency kit go to the RED CROSS Disaster Information page.   Don’t forget to add to your kit personal effects, such as your insurance information, copies of marriage and birth certificates and photos of your family members.

For families with children, especially with special needs, have a quick “grab and go” kit of favorite items and things you know will comfort your child during a time of distress.  Stuffed animals, battery operated video games, and books or drawing pads all are good things to bring along. So, be prepared in advance with this GRAB AND GO KIT.

Let others know your plans if you need to evacuate. Where you intend to go and how you will try to check in.

WHAT TO DO IF DISASTER STRIKES

Many agencies including FEMA and the RED CROSS offer much information, including for for families with special populations.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE, including Access and Functional Needs Information:

 RED CROSS disaster safety checklist in multiple languges

DISASTER ASSISTANCE by FEMA 

ASSISTANCE FOR THE AUTISM COMMUNITY:

Spirit of Autism

Autism Speaks

ASL / SIGN LANGUAGE RESOURCES FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS for the DEAF

SIGNING FAMILIES

DEAFinc VIDEOS  (including the one below)

Other Disaster Preparation Resources

Earthquake Country Alliance 

ShakeOut Earthquake Drill registration 

Hurricane Preparedness 

TsunamiZone

Ready.gov for many disaster preparedness resources, including Floods and Fires

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IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL RESOURCES PLEASE SHARE BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION

Dear First Responders, THANK YOU!

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  BOSTON MARATHON  BOMBING * TEXAS FERTILIZER EXPLOSION * FLOODING IN MIDWEST * 

These events and so many more this week are why I feel we all need to take a minute to thank the FIRST RESPONDERS in our community.  From Police to Fire Fighters to Emergency Medical Personnel including EMTs at disaster scenes, to the  Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to Comfort Dog Associations  to the American Red Cross and to so many others.

Peri is helping to say in American Sign Language THANK YOU!

Peri is helping to say in American Sign Language THANK YOU!

Thank-You

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