Deaf residents of the South left without warning

Malfunctions in vibrating beepers make it impossible for deaf Beersheba residents to know when Code Red rocket alarm sounds.

November 15, 2012 22:58
1 minute read.
Beersheba residents take shelter in a stairwell

Beersheba residents take shelter in a stairwell 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)


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The Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel (DPII) said on Thursday that it has received dozens of complaints from deaf residents of Beersheba about malfunctions with their vibrating beepers, making it impossible for them to know when Code Red rocket alarms are sounded.

The beepers, which are provided by the Home Front Command for the deaf community in Israel, are activated as rocket threats are detected and vibrate to signal the emergency to its user. They are also set to function according to the individual’s hometown.

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According to the DPII, which has been receiving messages from the deaf community in Beersheba, beepers stopped working at eight on Wednesday morning. In other southern municipalities, individuals said that the devices only vibrated a minute after occurrences.

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“After all the preparations that the Home Front Command made with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, we still find ourselves with no solution. Deaf people in the south remain in danger,” DPII chairwoman Yael Kakon said.

“Beepers don’t function but the Home Front Command has no official answer to the deaf community,” she added.

Following the reports, the Home Front Command and the company Beeper have agreed to make a repair station available in Ashdod for deaf people in the area.

Last month, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and its Center for Emergency Response Research had held an emergency training session for deaf people at the university.

Dr. Limor Aharonson- Daniel, the head of the department of emergency medicine at BGU who oversaw the event, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview before the event that issues with the beepers are ongoing and have occurred several times in the past.

“They have learned that you can’t trust the beeper, so they just don’t use it anymore,” she said.

“They are completely exposed to the danger. Well, some of them have all sorts of arrangements with their neighbors for example, who will let them know when an alarm goes off. So if it’s a 45- second warning, you may find someone nice who will do it, but if it’s a matter of 15 seconds, no one will take the time.”

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