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Making Emergency Information Accessible

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The Wireless RERC filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking In the Matter of Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description:  Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.  The comments highlighted research findings of the Wireless RERC concerning the accessibility of emergency alerts, including that people with vision loss consistently encounter challenges in accessing the content of emergency information when there is no audio version of the on-screen information.  Though the Wireless RERC endorsed the use of text-to-speech (TTS) technology to provide simultaneous audio of the text crawl, we recommended that the TTS be required to be of high quality to ensure that the audio information is clear and understandable. In order to provide guidance on TTS quality, we recommended that the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC) be tasked with identifying and examining extant standards on the provision of TTS to determine quality assurance parameters.

Additionally, Wireless RERC comments addressed the use of abbreviations, describing non-text emergency information such as maps, alternate means of compliance, and the policy implications of live IP-delivered programming.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.