Emergency Training & Education

“Dialing 9-1-1 is the most familiar way Americans have of finding help in an emergency.”
– Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II; U.S. Department of Justice

About the Program

The Emergency Education Program at HSDC, in collaboration with state and local 9-1-1 and emergency management agencies, works to ensure equal and safe access to 9-1-1 services and emergency warning information for individuals who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or facing speech challenges.  We provide…

  • Training for 9-1-1 centers on providing effective communication services via TTY, voice, and relay services (traditional and internet based relay)
  • Educational workshops for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people on 9-1-1 services, emergency preparedness, and emergency notification
  • Research on access to Consultation on Communication access to emergency warnings, developing option, and reporting to emergency officials

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Title II requires 9-1-1 centers to provide direct access service and the most effective communication possible to TTY callers. Voice Carry Over (VCO) and Hearing Carry Over (HCO) are included. TTY training and testing is also mandated, with refresher courses at least every six months.

Trainings & Educational Workshops

HSDC offers trainings and educational workshops for 9-1-1 telecommunicators (at the facility in question or a nearby area), which include hands-on practice with a TTY machine, ASL/English Translation, and an introduction to Deaf Culture and American Sign Language. We also give presentations in partnership with other Emergency Responders. We offer Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) refresher courses as well, geared to fit your needs. Courses count for credit hours with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

The Emergency Education Program offers a unique approach to 9-1-1/TTY training that no other program offers. We provide emergency preparedness education for the following community members:

  • Community members and students who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or facing speech challenges
  • Service Providers working with these communities
  • Emergency Responders and other agencies working in the field of emergency planning and preparation

Washington State is considered one of the few states at high risk for natural (earthquake, flood, windstorm) and manmade (terrorism, chemical spill) disasters. Many deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing are concerned, as they may lack access to emergency warnings and information, and need to take appropriate steps for their own safety. We must emphasize the importance of effective visual communication systems that will provide equal access to emergency information.

Emergency Information

HSDC is a member of National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and is currently on the NENA Accessibility committee.

HSDC has been selected as the point of contact by Seattle King County Public Health (SKCPH) to forward emergency information to deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people. Organizations serving these populations in King County and the surrounding areas, as well as individuals, can join this database by providing an email address.

HSDC receives alert information from several sources and will forward to those listed in database. Disclaimer: circumstances may prevent the information from being sent out in a timely manner.


In the summer of 1993, a deaf Washington resident died of complications from a stroke, after repeated attempts by the family to reach 9-1-1 through a TTY had failed. The Washington State Department of Social Health Services and Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) secured funding to develop a training and educational program for 9-1-1 telecommunicators and TTY users to ensure universal accessibility.

The Emergency Education Program was established in March 1995. Since that time, it has served a dual purpose: to train 9-1-1 telecommunicators and to empower TTY users to call 9-1-1 directly. In 2001, funding from Washington State E9-1-1 provided for continuing training to 9-1-1 telecommunicators, and the Emergency Notification project was added.

Contact Us

The Emergency Education Program welcomes any new information, questions, feedback, or suggestions regarding 9-1-1 training, services, and Emergency Notification. Please email emerginfo@hsdc.org or use the Contact Us page for more information, or to set up a training or workshop.