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Making Emergency Alerts Accessible for All

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GoCC4All webinar hosted by FAVI

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On July 24, thanks to the invitation of the Florida and Virgin Islands (FAVI) Deaf-Blind Collaborative, we presented our GoCC4All app at a webinar. The webinar was conducted first in English and then in Spanish, and had American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.

GoCC4All is a free app, developed by Dicapta Foundation (DF), that allows you to receive emergency alerts that correspond to your location and also send your location information to an emergency contact. Besides, you can use it to read the live caption streams of some selected channels. If this is your first experience with GoCC4All, you can find complete information of the app in our services page (https://gocc4all.dicaptafoundation.org/services).

This app was specially designed by Dicapta Foundation to serve users with deaf-blindness. It is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90IFDV0004-01-00).

The webinar was hosted by Carol Colmenares, Dicapta Foundation Public Relations Manager, and was complemented with clips from 3 members of the deaf-blind community: George Stern, Divya Goel, and Maricar Marquez. In the video below, Divya shares her experience using the emergency alerts section of the app.

We had an attendance of about 30 people, who actively participated with their questions and comments. Following, we highlight some of of those questions and the answers to those questions:

Audience: Does the location change when a person travel form one city to another or from one state to another automatically?
DF: Yes, GoCC4All automatically tracks an user device’s location so it can deliver the alerts that correspond to their current location.

Audience: Can you designate more than one emergency contact?
DF: No. At this moment you can only designate one contact. However, in the future, we could modify the app to accept more than one emergency contact.

Audience: Does the app work across all types of devices, like cell phones, tablets, etc.?
DF: Yes, it works on iPhone, Android and tablets.

Audience: How long has this app been available and is there any information on success or failure of features?
DF: The app was officially released at the beginning of July. With the help of the Helen Kellen National Center, we have done testing with users and have improved the app based on their feedback.

Audience: Are PBS and FX the only TV Channels in the app?
DF: At this moment, we only have those 2 channels. However, we would love to hear from you on what channels you would like us to add. We will be approaching several TV channels to invite them to join GoCC4All. You can send us your suggestions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Audience: Is the app available in Spanish and English?
DF: The app itself is available in both languages. It detects the language settings of your phone and adjust accordingly. On the other hand, the content (captions and emergency alerts) is shown in its original language. Currently, the 2 channels in the app are in English. We are adding a channel in Spanish soon. Regarding the emergency alerts, we get them directly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in English. To provide them in Spanish, we have contemplated to do an automatic translation of the alerts. However that won’t be always accurate, and that is why we decided against that.
FAVI: weather.com has a Spanish translation of the weather app.

Audience: Does the emergency contact get a text? Does your contact have to have the app to receive it?
DF: Currently, the emergency contact only receives an email. We are not using text messages because of the cost associated with sending the text messages. We are considering developing a version of the app for the Emergency Contacts so they can receive the information directly on their devices.

Audience: Have you considered using ASL version of alerts in case a consumer has a low reading/language ability?
DF: We have been exploring automatic ASL translators, however the technology is not ready for doing an automatic service. Because of that, we have discarded using ASL for the emergency alerts. That said, we are working on other projects to provide ASL for videos and prerecorded information.
FAVI: If you contact FEMA, they will give you an ASL interpreter during a FEMA disaster, such as a hurricane. The phone number for the FEMA disaster is for 202-655-8824. You can call or text and tell them you need an interpreter.

Audience: I am a curious about the reading/language level of alerts from weather apps such as AccuWeather and the alerts on the GoCC4All. Is it the same or is it simplified on GoCC4All?
DF: The alerts on GoCC4All come directly from FEMA. We don’t modify them. The language level of the alerts is the one provided by FEMA.

Audience: If you accidentally press the SOS button, can you cancel it?
DF: Yes, the app asks users to confirm if they want to send an SOS before sending it.

Audience: Can you read previous alerts?
DF: You can only read alerts that are active. Alerts have an expiration time. Once an alert has passed that expiration time, it won’t longer be active and won’t appear on the app. However, the app can show several active alerts at the same time, and you can read all of them as long as they are active.

If you haven't used GoCC4All yet, download it to your mobile device and start using it. GoCC4All is free!

Big thanks to Michele Pearson and Emily Taylor Snell, from FAVI, for inviting us to deliver this webinar. Also, thanks to Emma, who did a great job with the ASL interpretation. Special thanks to Divya Goel, Maricar Marquez, and George Stern for preparing videos for the webinar.