Check out this toolkit before disaster strikes

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I just found out that the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Project has launched a Toolkit to help people with disabilities use social media during and after disasters. A blog post by one of the members of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Reference Group explains why they took this project on:

The reason for developing the kit is that we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that social media can save lives, but people with disabilities often have difficulty accessing important messages because the social media platforms themselves are inaccessible.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit is free online. It offers tips, resources and apps to help those of us with disabilities overcome some of the accessibility challenges that come with social media, and it has guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible, too.

The toolkit is intended to help us access messages that might be sent during an emergency, but I’m finding it helpful dealing with everyday messages, too. Example: I have a hard time accessing Twitter with my screen reader (a program that reads information on a screen out loud for people who are blind), and the toolkit pointed me to some alternative sites. One, called Easy Chirp, can read tweets out loud for me. I noticed links in the toolkit that people who are deaf can use to request auto-captions for YouTube videos, and a whole bunch of Emergency smartphone apps provided to help those of us with with a disability prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. Do what I did: don’t wait for an emergency. Check out the toolkit now, it’s helpful right away!


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