Texas county trains hard of hearing on emergency preparedness

Harris County Citizens Corps, a group based out of Harris County, Texas, recently trained members of the deaf and hard of hearing community on the skills necessary during an emergency response.

During the 2014 Community Emergency Response Team Rodeo Round-up, members of the House Center for Independent Living trained on February 8 in skills like hazmat recognition, emergency preparedness, incident command, fire suppression, search and rescue and basic medical operations. The members included 10 deaf individuals, one hearing person, two American Sign Language interpreters and three intern interpreters, YourHoustonNews.com reports.

"This CERT program is empowering the deaf and hard of hearing community that wants to learn about disaster preparedness," Ed Emmett, a Harris County judge, said, according to YourHoustonNews.com. "Members of this community face many challenges, but protecting themselves during an emergency should not be one of them."

Since 2009, Harris County Citizen Corps has partnered with the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the Houston Center for Independent Living to provide training for the deaf and hard of hearing. In 2013, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the CERT program an honorable mention for its dedication to making communities stronger, safer and better prepared for any emergency or disaster.

There were more than 500 volunteers present during the 8th annual CERT Rodeo Round-up, YourHoustonNews.com reports.

"The rodeo gives volunteers the opportunity to demonstrate their response capabilities and it also showcases the CERT program," Emmett said, according to YourHoustonNews.com. "Citizen corps volunteers are essential partners in emergency preparedness and recovery."