Gallaudet's Chapel Hall with U.S. Capitol dome in backgroundGallaudet's new logo with TAP wording below

Accessible Emergency Notification and Communication:
State of the Science Conference

Gallaudet University
Washington, DC

November 2 - 3, 2005

Sponsored by the RERC on Telecommunications Access


The recent disasters caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast have highlighted the importance of access to emergency communications by people with disabilities.

On November 2-3, 2005 the RERC on Telecommunications Access sponsored a state of the science conference on the accessibility of emergency communications to people with disabilities. This timely conference brought together experts in accessibility, mass media, emergency communications, telecommunications, Internet, and government policy to analyze barriers and technological solutions for effective emergency communications with and for people with disabilities.

Attendees included representatives from federal, state, and local government; industry representatives; consumer representatives; and accessibility experts.

Materials from the Conference

Research and Policy Recommendations: This document lists research topics that were specifically mentioned at the conference, provided as written comments by participants, or derived from the information and issues raised. A list of suggestions for information and training projects as well as policy recommendations based on conference information are also included.

Print Archive: Accessible versions of individual PowerPoint presentations are available. Papers written by guest speakers, or edited transcripts of their remarks are also available.

Speaker Biographies

Video Archive: The conference presentations can be viewed online thanks to sponsorship of the web archive by the National Organization on Disability's Emergency Preparedness Initiative, the cooperation of, and support for captioning from Gallaudet University.


Additional Resources: Many organizations and individuals have prepared reports on emergency notification, communication, and preparedness for individuals with disabilities. Also listed in this section are other organizations that have developed programs related to Emergency Preparedness for people with disabilities.

Staff and Advisors


November 2, 2005

Welcoming Remarks

Jane K. Fernandes
Chair, Crisis Management Team
Gallaudet University
Opening Remarks Biography

Introduction: Accessibility and Emergency Communications

Judy Harkins
Director, Technology Access Program
Co P.I., RERC on Telecommunications Access
Gallaudet University
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Accessibility Tools and Gaps

Cheryl Heppner
Executive Director
Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

The Information Requirements of Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Janina Sajka
Capital Accessibility, Inc.
Paper Biography

Governmental Activities on Accessible Emergency Notification and Communication

Daniel W. Sutherland
Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Broadcast Media Notification

Radio Broadcast Data

Mike Starling
Vice President for Engineering and Operations
National Public Radio
PowerPoint Paper Biography

Making Televised Emergency Information Accessible

Larry Goldberg
Director, Media Access Group
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

NOAA NWS Emergency Warning

Kenneth Putkovich
U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Paper Biography

Email Alerts: What's Available

Marcia Brooks
Project Director, Access Alerts Project
PowerPoint Paper Biography

Common Alerting Protocol

Art Botterell
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Facilities and Campuses

Emergency Communication and Federal Employees

Paul Singleton
Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program
U.S. Department of Defense
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Campus-Level Accessible Notification

Carl Pramuk
Dean of Student Affairs
Gallaudet University
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Accessible Alarms during Sleep: Research Results

Jacqueline DuBois
Combustion Science and Engineering, Inc.
PowerPoint Paper Biography

November 3, 2005

Person-to-Person Telecommunications

Direct Person-to-Person Telecommunications:
Terminal Devices and Networks

Gregg Vanderheiden
Director, Trace R & D Center
Co-PI, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Telecommunications Access
University of Wisconsin, Madison
PowerPoint Biography

Direct Access to 9-1-1

PSAP Accessibility under ADA

Robert Mather
Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice

Related Proceedings and Rules of the FCC

Gregory Hlibok
Attorney Advisor
Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office
PowerPoint Paper Biography

Relay Services in an Emergency

Recovery of Service under Telecommunications Service Restoration Priority

Art Constantine, Recovery Coordination Director
John Hogue, Relay Services Manager

CapTel Service and 9-1-1 Calls

Kevin Colwell
Vice President of Engineering
Ultratec, Inc.
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Video Relay Service Technology and 9-1-1 Calls

Mike Maddix
Product Manager
Sorenson Communications
Messaging and E-mail for Information and Communication
PowerPoint Remarks Biography

Emergency Alert System Update

Martin Bongers
Project Officer, Integrated Public Alert and Warning System
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Wireless Location-Based Notification

Gary Jones
Director of Standards Policy
PowerPoint Remarks

Phone Notification Systems

Steve Marzolf
Public Safety Communications Coordinator
Virginia Information Technologies Agency - Division of Public Safety Communications
PowerPoint Paper Biography

What Works When Technology Doesn't?

Diane Morton
Professor, Department of Counseling
Gallaudet University
PowerPoint Remarks Biography


Judy Harkins, Director, Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University
Co-PI, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Telecommunications Access

Gregg Vanderheiden, Director, Trace R & D Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Co-PI, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Telecommunications Access

Paula Tucker, Research Associate, Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University


Dan Bart, Senior Vice President, Standards and Special Projects, Telecommunications
Industry Association (TIA)

Larry Goldberg, Director, Media Access Group, WGBH

Cheryl Heppner, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and
Hard of Hearing Persons

Helena Mitchell, Director, Office of Technology Policy and Programs, Georgia Centers for
Advanced Telecommunications Technology

The RERC on Telecommunications Access is a joint project of the Trace Center, University of Wisconsin, and the Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University. The RERC is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department of Education, under grant number H133E040013. However, the opinions and content are those of the grantees and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education.

This page last updated:March 21, 2006

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