Last Tuesday, Misty and I decided to cut off our Comcast extended cable to basic package which would save us about $40 dollars a month. I am not crazy about it but we felt it is necessary till we are in better shape.
Ever since, we are back to basic cable – I realized one of the most important pieces is 24 hours news service channel such as CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc. I tried to flick different channels on basic cable and there’s nothing except those local news channel and they aren’t even showing serious stuff going on with Hurricane Rita. We live in DFW, Texas area.
I realized that being Deaf has its own unique challenge because we cannot listen to radio for latest weather situation. On television, it doesn’t show anything till certain time like morning, noon, evening and late hours. It’s really sucks.
Sure, I do have hi-speed internet at home. It is not the same as 24-hours news on television. I tried to look up latest on CNN.com and its not telling what’s new till there’s new article or even charts or videos. What’s more, none of those videos have captioning.
I do subscribe emergency email network and I would get any latest emergency information to my email or my mobile. Again, since I subscribe to my zip code, it wouldn’t tell me what else is happening like Houston area.
Another example, CNN TV was showing all missing people (photo, name, age, location, etc.) which are nice however it doesn’t list anything like that on CNN website. It may be on elsewhere but I would have to look it up.
It is VERY hard to track what’s happening elsewhere like Houston or New Orleans situation especially pre and post activity. Carrying mobile like Sidekick or Blackberry wouldn’t help much at all. Deaf or Hard of Hearing people like us wouldn’t able to advantage of TV at shelter (if any) plus any other announcement thru their speaker.
As you can see, it is VERY hard on those people that hit the hardest from Hurricane Rita and Katrina. They probably have to depend on other hearing people or interpreter during those hard times. It is bad because they wouldn’t able to function independently. For other people who escaped from disaster and stay at friend or relatives house has extra advantage especially if they have cable at their place.
I really think that all television (whether it is cable or not) should have its own “emergency & announcement” by state or federal level (FEMA) with closed captioning. If you are on road or at shelter, FEMA should able to provide real time announcement (text) to your mobile.
Emergency Email Network is not enough – they need to do a lot more than just weather announcement and few others thing.
Did it ever happen to you before? If so, how did you handle it without depending so much on hearing people or feeling so lost? Tell me about it.
Grant W. Laird, Jr.