Biothreat response website launched for those with special needs

The Northeast Texas Public Health District has debuted a new website with a goal of making information on emergency preparedness information easily accessible to special needs residents.

The website, which features videos with American Sign Language interpreters, advises uses on preparation for 18 topics, including anthrax attacks and botulism, two bioterror fears, as well as plagues and pandemic flu.

The videos on the website, located at, also feature audio and text that appears alongside the interpreter, Stephanie Walker, the Anderson County coordinator told

"A lot of people don't realize that there's about 10 percent of the population that's deaf," Walker told "When we don't give them the information, how can we possibly expect them to be prepared when disasters strike?"

Guides for emergency preparedness written in Braille, large print and regular font are also included on the site and available for download at no cost to the public. Additionally, any group may link to the site.

The site, Walker says, has been visited nearly 7,000 times in less than one month. Walker cited a general lack of preparedness information for deaf populations as a reason for its popularity and said she has received responses from public health officials across the country. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Administration has asked Walker to host a Webinar to instruct other officials on compiling similar sites.