Deaf in a disaster: America’s most terrifying moment through the eyes of the deaf
Most Americans remember this day like it was yesterday. Recollecting things one normally wouldn’t from a time 15 years ago. We remember where we were, the people around us, our emotions, the things we saw and the sounds we heard. Most of us, that is.
In New York city 15 years ago, chaos arose. As papers, debris and smoke came raining down people grew confused, and terrified. As sirens and announcements were made, many people began to understand what had occurred. This was not the case for those who were deaf.
As their co-workers began to exit buildings and flee to safety, many deaf individuals were left behind, not understanding what was occurring, or where they should be. In the midst of panic and chaos, they were forgotten.
Of course, it is difficult to remember such needs when our brains go into fight or flight mode. This is why it is necessary to have emergency plans pre-arranged. And this is why it is especially necessary that these plans assure that people of all abilities are included in safety measures.
And for that, we need to start having conversations. We need to be advocates. We need to remind people that this matters, and this starts by having conversations.
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For more information about 9/11 and the deaf individuals that were present, check out this short documentary: 9/11 fear in silence has been covered from every perspective. Expect ours, Deaf Survivors.