Emergency Access & Communications

Effective communication between spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) is critical for a successful partnership and resolution, especially during emergencies. When RI Public Safety entities (Fire, Medical, and Police) encounter Deaf or Hard of Hearing person(s), communication without proper auxiliary aids and services often lead to communication breakdowns. Effective communication can even save lives.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing people usually give and receive information through sign language or printed text rather than through speech.

Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), State and local governments are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations (auxiliary aids and services), when needed to communicate effectively, with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

Here are some examples of communication aids and services:

  • American Sign Language interpreters
  • Video remote interpreting
  • Notetakers
  • Large print materials
  • Captioning
  • Accessible electronic and information technology
  • Other similar services and actions

The goal is to find a solution that fits the circumstances.

RICDHH stands ready to work with RI State and local governments and RI Public Safety entities to ensure that our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Rhode Islanders have and will continue to have full access to communications and information.

Click the entity to obtain more information on how both communities become successful partners, just like in the general population.