The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.
The FEMA ICP Awards recognize innovative local practices and achievements by honoring individuals, organizations, and jurisdictions that have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening their community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Additionally, the Awards program helps to generate conversation at the neighborhood level, provides models of preparedness programs, and demonstrates how to implement preparedness programs in any community.
A WV program wins the Technological Integration AWARD!
Partnerships in Assistive Technologies (PATHS, Inc.) (West Virginia)
Using the TapToTalk app, originally designed as a tool for students in school, PATHS, Inc. created a picture communication system (“album”) to provide information to drivers and express the desires of riders. Examples:
- driver-to-rider, “pull the cord to stop,”
- rider-to-driver, “please lower the bus.”
PATHS, Inc. members decided that this communication system could also work with other service providers, especially professional responders. In partnership with the Kanawha Putnam Emergency Planning Committee, PATHS, Inc. developed a series of “albums” to help police, fire and emergency medical services providers communicate with survivors, witnesses, or other individuals who may have communication issues. These issues could include individuals with neurological issues, behavioral issues, and Limited English Proficiency. In addition to a basic intake “album” that is used by all responders, each professional group has an “album” that is specific to their needs. The goal was to create questions that could be answered by a simple “yes” or “no” response. Specific questions for the individual provider “albums” include, “did you see what happened,” or a series of questions describing the perpetrator. But the first three, and most important questions for any user are “can you hear me” “can you understand me?” and “do you speak English?” Responses to these questions will let responders know if the TapToTalk “album” will be an effective form of communication with the survivors they are assisting.