FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2021
Harris County Launches Accessible Alert System
(Harris County, Texas) - The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) is providing access to alerts, warnings, and preparedness information to persons who are Deaf, Blind, Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf-Blind, or low-vision through a new one-stop-website.
The Ready Harris Alert System (RHAS) site will house emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation information on disasters. In addition, the system has Braille reader capability and can also send emergency alerts with sign language interpreting along with voice and closed captioning in English and Spanish before, during and after an emergency. The system is compatible with video capable devices such as computers, tablets, cell phones and wireless Braille readers. HCOHSEM will also reach individuals with low literacy in English and Spanish with the resources housed on this site.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Harris County is home to the 5th largest population of persons with different types of disabilities, and the 2nd largest population of older adults with disabilities in the United States.
“Communication plays a central role in disaster recovery, connecting survivors with resources and enabling collective action, so we can’t leave anyone behind" said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. "Messaging and alert systems should be accessible to all of our communities, and this service will provide a needed lifeline to people with disabilities.”
To sign up for this service, visit the Ready Harris Accessible Alert System.
This is the latest resource HCOHSEM has implemented to reach members of Harris County’s diverse community. Currently, most emergency preparedness information and emergency alerting is available via ReadyHarris Alerts, ReadyHarris.org and social media in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Arabic.
HCOHSEM is a national model of best practices in emergency planning, preparation, response, and recovery. HCOHSEM helps prepare, safeguard and protect the residents and property of Harris County from the effects of disasters through effective planning, preparation, response, and recovery activities. HCOHSEM collaborates with regional transportation, industry, healthcare, education, and non-profit groups to ensure Harris County is resilient and ready to respond to any emergency. Harris County is the third largest county in the United States, covering 1,777 square miles.
About Deaf Link
Deaf Link leads the nation in the development and implementation of services and solutions to ensure inclusion and equal access for persons with sensory disabilities. Deaf Link is based in San Antonio TX and operates 24/365 from a secure communication and production facility. Deaf Link’s Video Remote Interpreter (VRI) sessions are secure, encrypted and confidential to meet HIPAA requirements.