Tag Archives: wildfire

Disaster Training for American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters in Preparation for Wildfire Season

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Thirty-five American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters attended an Emergency Training Workshop on March 13th-14th. Interpreters were exposed to the federal incident command system and gained knowledge on how they can integrate into, and aid in communication with, people who are deaf during a public emergency. The Independence Center, an Independent Living Center for people with disabilities, decided to host this workshop after seeing a need for the coordination of interpreters. The training is an opportunity to kick off a statewide project to formalize a network of interpreters, and how they will be implemented, during future disasters.

The training is the first step in a multi-series project to prepare interpreters for their role during disasters. Nick DeSutter, Emergency Program Manager for The Independence Center and project administrator, said “It is important for communities to think about the various ways in which to communicate with diverse populations of people during a disaster. We are truly excited that the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, partnered with us to fund this event.”

The workshop offered ASL Interpreters continuing education credits and was held at the El Paso County Emergency Operations Center. Naomi McCown, Staff Interpreter for The Independence Center and lead workshop coordinator said, “It is really awesome to see such a wide participation from colleagues across the state. This training is a great example as to how various organizations like the Independence Center, Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and El Paso County work together to prepare for threats that face our communities. This sort of inter-organizational training is important not only for people who are deaf and hard of hearing but also for a wide range of people with various disabilities.”

Air Quality Tips During a Wildfire

With so much smoke in the air from wildfires, it’s important to take your health in to consideration. Even those who aren’t near evacuation zones can be in danger of smoke inhalation and health problems that can arise from it.

If you can see or smell smoke, children, elderly, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions should stay inside with the windows and doors closed.

Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere.

Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

When smoke levels are high, even healthy people may experience coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes, and a runny nose. If you can see or smell smoke, you should limit outdoor physical activities and stay indoors if at all possible.

Wildfire smoke contains pollutants that can be harmful to health. Particles from smoke tend to be very small and can therefore be inhaled into the deepest recesses of the lung and may represent a greater health concern than larger particles. Even in healthy people, this can cause temporary reductions in lung function and pulmonary inflammation.

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