History of EPCAP

Governor Dan McKee
Picture credit: WJAR-TV


Established by statute in 2013, the Emergency and Public Communication Access Program (EPCAP) has two parts – Emergency Communication Access and Public Communication Access.  The primary purpose of EPCAP is to ensure that more than 90,000 deaf and hard of hearing Rhode Islanders, plus several thousands of people who travel in Rhode Island for conferences, tourism, business, employment, family affairs, etc., can receive text-based direct communications from emergency service providers, and that state/public places have the resources and telecommunications devices currently in place for a deaf and hard of hearing individual’s communication access.

Emergency Communication Access

Emergency Communication Access is the first part of the program where RICDHH ensures that all deaf and hard of hearing individuals who utilize American Sign Language and/or English as their language have full access to emergency alerts, news, and information through visual technology such as alert signals, closed captioning, sign language interpreters, text emergency broadcasts, smartphones/tablets, social media outlets, and many more. By having direct access to emergency messages instantly, deaf and hard of hearing individuals are empowered to make decisions about what next steps to take during emergencies or natural disasters in Rhode Island.

Public Communication Access

Public Communication Access is the second part of the program where RICDHH ensures that public sites, especially state-owned properties, do have appropriate telecommunications or general communication equipment/devices readily available and will be used by deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Rhode Island.