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15 âIt is impossible to anticipate the needs of every individual person on a one-off basis. Instead, you have to plan strategically from the bottom up.â âInterviewee During interviews conducted in preparation for this guidebook, some respondents admitted that meeting the needs of individuals whose disabilities or functional needs are not apparent is difficult. Fully understanding the populations who need assistance and the type of assistance that is needed is complicated. Although it may not always be obvious who needs accommoda- tions, it is incumbent on airport personnel to know how to provide accommodations for people with disabilities. The most cost-effective, efficient, and simplest way to do this is to ask people with DAFN. Engaging in whole-community planning and establishing a DAFN advisory group are keys to fully understanding the needs of people with DAFN in airport facilities. Establishing the DAFN advisory group will be the most important step in identifying the emergency communi- cation needs of people with DAFN in the airport and pinpointing the gaps in existing services (see Figure 3). Inventory Existing Emergency Management Communications Programs and Services Airport emergency management staff and the designated ADA coordinator(s) should first take inventory of existing plans, reports, and documents to identify how emergency commu- nications is addressed. Many existing airport emergency communications protocols may be documented in various plans, procedures, and other resources. It is important to have a solid understanding of existing emergency communications documentation and how it may already incorporate accessibility strategies. The checklist shown in Figure 4 presents many of the relevant documents that will likely contain information on the airportâs current emergency communications methods and pro- cedures and how they apply to or accommodate people with DAFN. A printable version of this checklist is provided in Appendix A. During review of these documents, the following questions should be considered: â¢ Do planning documents adequately address emergency communications for people with DAFN? â¢ Which plans or procedures incorporate communications strategies that include people with DAFN and which do not? â¢ How are existing emergency communications methods used and/or adapted to accommodate people with DAFN? C H A P T E R 3 Identifying the Emergency Communications Needs of People with DAFN
16 Airport Emergency Communications for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs Plans, Reports, and Documents Inventory Checklist Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Plan Airport Emergency Plan (AEP), particularly those sections referring to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, including those with limited English proficiency (DAFN) Language Assistance Plan (LAP) Comprehensive Crisis Communications Plan, Emergency Communications Plan, and/or AEP section on emergency communications List of training topics pertinent to ADA, access and functional needs, or limited English proficiency Training schedule that includes regularly scheduled accessibility trainings Exercise scenarios that include people with DAFN After-action reports or lessons learned from actual incidents, drills, or exercises involving people with DAFN Demographic information on airport passengers and/or populations surrounding the airport (i.e., catchment area) Design and use of non-verbal emergency communications (e.g., visual paging, Flight Information Display System, Baggage Information Display System, Gate Information Display System, pictographs, and so forth) Specifications on any electronic translation or interpretation aids used Copies of contracts with vendor(s) and/or contractor(s) supplying specialized services for people with DAFN Self-audits FAA audits FAA Title VI inspection documents Figure 4. Sample checklist for planning (inventory of plans, reports, and documents). Identify DAFN Emergency Communication Needs STEP 1 Develop DAFN Emergency Communications Strategies STEP 2 Incorporate Strategies into Emergency Preparedness Program STEP 3 â¢ Inventory DAFN Services â¢ Conduct Self-Assessment â¢ Identify Gaps â¢ Apply Core Techniques â¢ Identify Enhancements to Fill Gaps â¢ Implement Strategies â¢ Include in Emergency Plans â¢ Deliver Accessibility Training â¢ Integrate DAFN into Emergency Exercises Figure 3. Step 1: Identify gaps in services. â¢ Do emergency training and exercise programs address emergency communications with people with DAFN? â¢ Has the airport created documentation of identified areas of need for communicating with people with DAFN, even in non-emergencies? Emergency management and ADA coordinators should also review existing programs and services for people with DAFN that are in use at the airport. The checklist shown in Figure 5 identifies areas that may be addressed already in current operations. In determining whether these methods are currently in place, planners are encouraged to take into account which items may have additional room for improvement. Reviewing these items will give airport emergency managers and ADA coordinators a good starting place for identifying additional needs for
Identifying the Emergency Communications Needs of People with DAFN 17 Programs and Services* Inventory Checklist General Programs and Services Active DAFN advisory group Disability awareness and sensitivity training (DAST) for airport employees Person-to-person wayfinding assistance Ensuring staff have paper and pencil on hand to communicate one-on-one with individuals Pre-flight orientation program that provides emergency information Airport website detailing accessibility services and important emergency information Emergency preparedness drills and exercises that include participants with DAFN Audio Services for Emergency Communications Pre-scripted or pre-recorded audio messages* Auditory emergency alarms that include emergency instructions Beacon technology for wayfinding Audio two-way communications in elevators and areas of rescue assistance Assistive listening systems and devices* Telephone handset amplifiers* Hearing aid compatible telephones* Induction loop systems and accompanying signage Emergency communication devices in parking areas or other areas of the airport that are hearing aid or loop compatible Visual Services for Emergency Communications Visual paging and the use of Flight Information Display System, Baggage Information Display System, and Gate Information Display System for emergency messaging* Qualified sign language interpreter* Written emergency information and wayfinding signage* Beacon technology for wayfinding Emergency information and signage in large print* Emergency information and signage in braille* Pictograph signage demonstrating emergency procedures Pre-scripted emergency messages* Open captioning, closed captioning, real-time captioning, and closed caption decoders and devices* Text telephones (TTYs), videophones, captioned telephones, and other voice, text, and video-based telecommunications products* Visual Services for Emergency Communications, continued Videotext displays* Visual alarms (e.g., flashing lights) Use of airport social media to disseminate emergency information Use of text messaging to disseminate emergency messages Visual two-way communications in elevators and areas of rescue assistance Multilingual Services for Emergency Communications Emergency information signage in multiple languages Pre-recorded emergency messages in foreign languages Onsite foreign language interpreters *Items flagged by an asterisk are considered âauxiliary aids and servicesâ according to Title III of the ADA. These auxiliary aids and services enable effective communications with people with DAFN. Figure 5. Sample checklist for reviewing existing programs.
18 Airport Emergency Communications for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs building an accessible emergency communications strategy. A printable version of this checklist also appears in Appendix A. Accessibility Self-Assessment As previously discussed, the DAFN advisory group will be the best resource for identifying areas for improvement or gaps in accessibility services for people with DAFN. Airports should invite planning partners from the airport and the surrounding community. Participants may include airport emergency managers and ADA compliance staff; airport employees with DAFN; representatives from community advocacy and non-profit organizations representing people with DAFN in their community; and city, county, or state ADA coordinators. State and local agencies that serve people with DAFN (e.g., through centers for independent living, divisions that focus on services for people with developmental disabilities and people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or commissions or councils for people with blindness or visual impairments) also may be willing to participate. After the inventory process has been completed, the DAFN advisory group should conduct a walkthrough of the facility to determine accessibility needs. The group leader who facilitates the walkthroughâideally a member of emergency management staff or an ADA coordinatorâ should have knowledge of the ADA and knowledge of accommodations for people with DAFN. The amount of time required for the walkthrough will depend on the complexity and size of the airport, as well as the time commitment available from group members. The walkthrough can be conducted during normal business hours. During the walkthrough, the group leader should take the DAFN advisory group through the various areas of the airportâincluding, at a minimum, curbside, ticketing, security, concourse, terminal, baggage claim, and gate areas. At each location, the group leader should propose an incident scenario that represents a possible real-life emergency in the airport and ask the DAFN advisory group to discuss the following questions: â¢ How would you expect to receive notification that an emergency has occurred? â¢ How would you expect to receive information about what actions should be taken (e.g., evacuation, shelter in place)? â¢ Where else would you look for information (e.g., social media, airport staff, and fellow passengers)? â¢ What would you do if you suspected there was an emergency (e.g., heard shots fired) but did not receive notification of an emergency? The advisory groupâs responses to these questions can help identify modes of communication that are available at each location and gaps or areas for improvement to support emergency messaging. Vignettes presenting sample emergency scenarios that can be used during the walk- through are included in Appendix J. The next section of this chapter discusses the Accessibility Walkthrough Worksheet, a tool that can be helpful in documenting the groupâs findings and in developing an overall evaluation of the airportâs current capabilities. Accessibility Walkthrough Worksheet: Overview The purpose of the accessibility walkthrough is to identify the current emergency communi- cation capabilities of the airport and identify opportunities to make emergency messaging more accessible to people with DAFN. Figure 6 presents a three-section Accessibility Walkthrough Worksheet that can be used as a guide to conduct the assessment and record observations. This tool was developed in accordance with ADA requirements and recommendations as
â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ (This worksheet page allows additional space for notes.) â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ Figure 6. Accessibility Walkthrough Worksheet. (continued on next page)
20 Airport Emergency Communications for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ (This worksheet allows another page for notes.) â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ Figure 6. (Continued). described in the U.S. Department of Justiceâs ADA Requirements: Effective Communication bulletin. A full-size, printable version of this worksheet is available in Appendix B. The assessment should be conducted by the airportâs DAFN advisory group, ADA coordina- tor, and/or emergency management staff. The walkthrough can be conducted in the following areas of the airport: curbside, ticketing, security, concourse, terminal, gate, baggage claim, and staff office areas. One copy of the worksheet will be required for each location. At each location, one member of the assessment team should be responsible for filling out the worksheet and recording the groupâs answers to each question in the worksheet. Based on the groupâs observations, an accessibility rating should be assigned to each com- munication mode or resource. The accessibility rating should indicate how well each mode or resource meets the needs of people with DAFN based on its current condition, location, and use. The group should take into account whether the current technique and/or system is simple, intuitive, and appropriate in terms of size and space. Modes of communication that receive a low accessibility rating should be evaluated to identify potential improvements that will increase accessibility. Modes of communication that the group identifies as helpful to people
Identifying the Emergency Communications Needs of People with DAFN 21 with DAFN and that are not currently present in certain locations should be evaluated with regard to the feasibility of obtaining or implementing them. Accessibility ratings can be assigned on a scale of one to four, as follows: 1 = Significant barrier(s) to access or understanding for people with DAFN 2 = Potential barrier(s) to access and/or understanding for people with DAFN 3 = Accessible and/or understood by most people with DAFN 4 = Universally accessible to all individuals Identify Gaps The information gathered from the accessibility walkthrough can be used to identify gaps where the airport can improve current techniques or provide additional services. To that end, following the walkthrough, the group leader can facilitate a âdebriefingâ by posing the following additional questions to the group: â¢ In your opinion, what are the most significant barriers to providing emergency information to people with DAFN at this airport? â¢ What have you experienced at other airports that may be helpful for this airport in terms of different services and communication strategies to assist people with DAFN? â¢ As travelers, what additional experiences have you or your organization identified as chal- lenges for people with DAFN? The results of the walkthrough and the information gathered in the debriefing can be used to determine the most significant gaps to address in developing an effective, accessible emergency communications strategy. The group leader should prepare a list of key gaps to distribute for validation by the DAFN advisory group. Once the list has been validated, the DAFN advisory group can prioritize the issues and identify appropriate solutions.