Keeping the deaf community safe during tragic events

by Jennifer Harbaugh. 0 Comments

Sandy Hook. Boston Marathon. Oklahoma.    One thing these events have in common is lives were lost in the most tragic way.    Life is unpredictable. Any one of us can go any second. While we are living, though, we have to figure out how can we keep ourselves safe or at least be aware of what's happening around us.   Once I heard about the Boston Marathon bombings, I kept thinking about how the Deaf people who went to the Marathon got out safely? I can't imagine standing alone in the chaos, people running and screaming, and having no idea what is happening or what I should do. I'm hoping the "we depend on the kindness of strangers" rings true here. It made me think about the disadvantage we are at.  For example, the hearing world has radio, loudspeakers, sirens, and people's chattering.    For us, the Deaf community, we have to depend on technology that is designed for us to help us get home safe. However, technology is not 100 percent reliable. For example, a few months ago, Downtown Frederick had a robbery incident, and I was at work when I found out what happened since the school I worked at was put on a lockdown. I wondered what if I didn't work that day and I was in my apartment and getting ready to leave and walk to Downtown, and I didn't look at my iPhone. What would have happened? 


Also, with many Deaf employees and Deaf students ranging from 13 to 21 years old walking around downtown during the lovely weather these days, how can we reinforce a safety system for the Deaf, as well as hearing residents? 


We already have one system set up in place, and that is "Alert Frederick County" text alerts, which I will explain more in detail later. 

  However, we need more accessible options besides "depending on the kindness of strangers."    This is an open invitation for everyone to throw in ideas and encourage the City of Frederick to consider these options and establish them in order to keep everyone safe.

If you are a Frederick resident or an employee working in Frederick, have you signed up for the "Alert Frederick County" page where you'll get texts or emails for everything from weather warnings to police happenings in the city? 


If not, the link is:

Please stay safe as the summer is coming!


Jennnifer Harbaugh writes a regular column for

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