Deaf Badge for Relief: disaster preparedness by a local sign language club

from 1 December 2009 Issue of Japanese Deaf News, JFD’s monthly newspaper:

The members of a sign language club of Tsuru, Yamanashi, produced an emergency badge for deaf people.

The deaf badge, with a green, cut-out felt cloth butterfly placed on a yellow circle, is designed to be worn like an athlete number singlet, so that the surrounding people can identify the deaf person on the spot. The butterfly ID is taken from “Hearing Disability Badge,” designated to the wide mirror using drivers with hearing impairment. This handmade badge by Ms. Junko Kato, president of Senbakai, Tsuru sign language club, was utilized in the Tsuru Citywide Emergency Drill held on September 27, 2009.

The second training session of the annual drill since last year was conducted on the communication with people with hearing impairments, including writing text on the ground and using a cell phone. Feedbacks from the participants include, “I was thinking that sign language is the only means to communicate with deaf people, but today I learned there are many other communication strategies and tips”. Prior to the training session, flyers created by Senbakai were distributed, covering the information on the communication tips with deaf people and sign language grocery in case of emergency.

The city of Tsuru does not have a deaf association, and some deaf residents of this area are registered members of the provincial subdivision of the Yamanashi-ken (prefecture/state) deaf association. In the emergency drill, seven from the deaf association and three from Senbakai participated.

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