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Emergency Communications and People with Disabilities

Helena Mitchell and Frank Lucia, WEC co-project directors, visited Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2011 for a series of meetings with FEMA (Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and IPAWS) and the FCC (Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau).

Emergency Preparedness Checklist for People with Disabilities

Recently published in the February 2013 issue of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published by the journal for the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), this Emergency Preparedness Checklist for People with Disabilities Information and Education Page was created by Wireless RERC researcher, John Morris and Wireless RERC co-director, Mike Jones. 

Three Wireless RERC Papers Win Best of CSUN 2014

February 2015 – The Wireless RERC and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access were selected among Best Papers at last year’s 29th International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, or CSUN 2014. Both NIDRR-funded RERCs, three papers from the Wireless RERC were named among the best to appear in the latest issue of the Journal on


Summary Report - Emergency Lifelines Workshop & Tabletop

The Emergency Lifelines Workshop & Tabletop Summary Report is available.  The workshop, held in Spring 2016 at the Georgia Institute of Technology, hosted forty-four (44) individuals with active leadership roles in emergency communications at the invitation-only event. The event engaged representatives from academic, local, state, and Federal agencies to better understand the needs of individuals with disabilities


Wireless RERC Summit Proceedings: Envisioning Inclusive FUTURES

The Envisioning Inclusive FUTURES Summit Proceedings have been published by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) on our website. The Summit focused on 1) key social, economic, political and technological forces at play in the migration from legacy, analog technologies to mobile, digital technologies, and 2) the consequential futures for people with disabilities. The Proceedings concluded that a variety of technological...

Online Wireless Accessibility Resources Survey Results

In response to consumers with disabilities unsure about which wireless devices and services best fit their needs and abilities, the Wireless RERC developed “Your Guide to Choosing a Cell Phone” in 2004. 

Today, all of the major wireless manufacturers and service providers, as well as some third party resources, maintain websites offering accessibility information.  These websites are powerful tools for gathering and comparing information about available products and services...

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) / Emergency Alert System (EAS) Survey Comparison

This research brief presents the background and results of research activities which were conducted to examine the effectiveness of EAS and WEA to provide alerts to people with disabilities.  Specifically, the Wireless RERC conducted comparative analyses of the awareness of EAS and WEA messages, the accessibility of the two systems, as well as the types of protective actions taken as a result of the emergency messages.  The survey


2014 SUNspot (Number 03) - Ease of Use and Wireless Device Modifications by Adults with Disabilities

We created “SUNspot” to share some of the latest findings from ongoing data collection for our Survey of User Needs (SUN), our cornerstone survey on use and usability of wireless technology by people with disabilities.  We launched the first version of the SUN in 2001. The current version (Version 4) was launched in September 2012. Data collection was conducted through September 2013. The data reported here are preliminary results.  

This SUNspot focuses on any...

UPDATED 2017: 12 Considerations for Accessible Emergency Communications

March 2017 –  This document features twelve considerations for accessible emergency communications to help guide emergency communications planning for people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs. Also provided is a list of websites and resources with specific information concerning technology, policy, training and education.  ...

Wireless RERC Researcher Authors NCD Report on Emergency Communications

Dr. James White, Director of Communications Studies at Georgia Tech’s Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) and Wireless RERC researcher, authored the recently published National Council on Disability (NCD) report: Effective Communication for People with Disabilities Before, During, and After Emergencies Evaluated. Officially released at their May 27th briefing, the report focuses on the accessibility of emergency



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The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.