Posted on

About Us

Lesa Kretschmer, President

Lesa Kretschmer, President of Florida Reading and Vision Technology, has been working with the Visually Impaired and Blind since 1993. A dedicated professional, Lesa is committed to placing adaptive technology exactly where it belongs, in the hands of the end user.

“I have seen adaptive technology dramatically improve people’s lives, whether it’s assisting someone back into the workplace, enlarging a student’s potential or helping a senior citizen maintain their independence.”

Lesa has worked extensively with individuals, occupational therapists, low vision doctors, Lighthouses, the Division of Blind Services and a spectrum of Educational and Government Institutions. She has conducted hundreds of seminars, workshops and vision fairs around the state. She has also been a guest on national and local television and radio programs. Lesa is an advocate for the blind and visually impaired and led the effort to have nine Florida mayors proclaim May 1st as Macular Degeneration Awareness Day.

Send Lesa an email at Lesa@floridareading.com or by phone: 954-648-7757.

John Ryan

John Ryan is Florida Vision Technology Center’s Store Manager since 2012. John is an Assistive Technology Specialist with training in the Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) Program from Florida State University (FSU). In addition, he has over 20 years experience as a computer consultant in the Government and Private sectors. “It makes me feel good to be part of the Florida Vision Technology family that values being a premier resource to the visually impaired community.” The center offers assessments, training, and technology evaluations on a wide array of vision aids and appliances.” Visit the Store at 650 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311.

Send John an email at store@floridareading.com or by phone: 954-525-5311.

Janice Rossetti

Janice brings Florida Vision Technology over 12 years of quality customer service and sales experience and is dedicated to helping others. Being visually impaired herself, she is aware of the different needs individuals have and is proud to assist with bringing a wide variety and the newest assistive technology into the Florida Vision Technology store. Her willingness to listen, address concerns, and provide product information is what she strives for with each and every person. She understands that choosing the right assistive device is key to living independently and achieving personal goals.

Send Janice an email: headquarters@floridareading.com or by phone: 800-981-5119.

Tony del Campo

As South Florida Computer Specialist for Florida Reading and Vision Technology, Tony del Campo has nearly 18 years hands-on computer experience. The expertise he brings to Florida Reading and Vision Technology and its clients is extraordinary! Tony’s services include set-up and installation of various computer-related components, software installation, troubleshooting, Internet access, back-up utilities, networking solutions and much more.

Send Tony an email at info@floridareading.com

Annika Kretschmer

A recent graduate from the University of South Florida, Annika completed her Masters in Social Work. Annika formally started working for Florida Vision Technology, in May after she completed her studies, when the Largo store was opened inside the Lighthouse of Pinellas. She does home demos and trainings, presentations to low vision support groups and senior homes, as well as working in the retail store. Annika has volunteered at the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision Walks, Florida’s Braille Challenge and Cane Quest.

Send Annika an email: annika@floridareading.com or by phone: 727-433-5017.

Jose Cintron

Losing his sight at a young age, Jose can totally relate to people with a visual impairment. Graduating from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, he spent his last year there as an Assistant Braille Teacher. Jose then went on to work with visually-impaired students in the Broward County School system the following year. Jose has obtained various certifications in computers. After obtaining his certifications, Jose went on to training individuals with using assistive technology on the Mac OS X and IOS platforms. Jose is extremely passionate with consulting and teaching people how to utilize assistive technology so that they can be successful in both their private and professional lives.

Send Jose an email: jose@floridareading.com, or by phone: 954-993-7323.

Posted on

Share Your Experiences with Our Products

We at Florida Reading and Vision Technology want the users of our products to put in their own words their experience with them. You can be as anonymous as you wish to be but if you can tell us your first name, last initial and where you are from, it would be much appreciated.

 

In addition, you can submit your experience in text format, Microsoft Word document or even an audio file (MP3 preferred). Just send them to testimonials@floridareading.com and note in your message what product you are sharing your experience with.

 

And thanks in advance from all of us at Florida Reading!

 

Here is an example of the testimonials we have received:

The representative was friendly and informative. She answered all my questions. We were in a convention Exhibit Hall and the noise was very high. Other than that it was a very positive experience.

Janet U. – Satisfied Victor Reader Stream Customer

 

Thank you! I received the Max Mouse and took it to my mother-in-law and she was thrilled. She was able to read the newspaper and other things that she had not been able to do in a very long time. Again thanks for the great service.

Sandy C. – Jacksonville

 

Below is an audio testimonial for the K-NFB Mobile Reader. You can click on the link and have the option to open the MP3 file to play in your media player, or save it to your computer:

K-NFB Mobile Reader Audio Testimonial

 

Customer Service Testimonial:

I cannot thank you enough for the quick response. I can now immediately serve my patient. I won’t forget your company. Thank you!

Nancy – VAMC

 

The Manderfield Technical Training Laboratory (MTTL) has used Florida Reading & Vision (Technology) as a vendor for many years and will continue to. They are knowledgeable about their products, efficient, friendly, and exceed all expectations.

Thank you.

Holly Sharp
Daytona Beach

 

The following testimonials are for System Access:

I have recently acquired a Creative Zenstone mp3 player. I usually use JAWS as my screen reader, so I downloaded some scripts designed for this player. But, they don’t work! Presumably because my version of JAWS is very old! Very disappointed, I struggled on with my limited eye-sight. BUT……, when I shut down JAWS and loaded SA, I found, to my delight, that it works and reads the Creative Lite software!

Thank you so much for this product!

M. Norton

 

Highest Praises to the SA tech support. You guys are the most professional, most reliable, and best at what you do, consistently. Thanks ever so much to Brian and Matt for attending to and resolving my NeoSpeech problem. It’s such a joy to work with such competent and dedicated service providers as yourselves and all on the Serotek team. You make being a customer a truly unique experience, due to your outstanding response to the needs of all. I am so grateful you are out there. Amid so many improvements, it’s a pleasure to find continuing quality of customer care and personalized attention. Your work makes a world of difference and I can’t say enough to recommend the Serotek advantage.

Nancy

 

The following couple of testimonials are for the Victor Reader Stream:

Just wanted to let you know that I purchased my Victor Reader Stream the day I received your e-mail, and had it the next day. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and never leave home without it. Thanks so much.

Money well spent.

Mary
Daytona Beach, FL

 

Finally, I just want to add my thanks for developing such a great product at such an awesome price! I have never been much of a book reader and had considered purchasing a product from the competition, namely the Bookport. After I read the initial reviews on the VictorReader Stream, I was hooked on the player and knew I had to have one.

 

I finally purchased a player in late November and wonder why I waited so long! I should also add that a co-worker purchased a player site unseen after I told him all about the player. In fact, my wife liked the player so much, she bought one too!

The design of the player, including size, is outstanding! The player has such great features and is a breeze to use. I love the fact that the VR Stream is so compact in size and weighs so little. I can honestly say that the VictorReader Stream has turned me into an avid reader!

Like a good paperback, I just can’t seem to put the VictorReader Stream down. Outstanding job Humanware!! Looking forward to your response.

Dave
Largo, FL

 

And Florida Reading and Vision Technology was honored to be featured in a section of the American Foundation for the Blind’s Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, which includes some of the many products on this website. Please right-click on the following link to save this to your computer or portable device, as it is a text file:

 

AFB’s Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness article featuring Florida Reading and Vision Technology, January 2008

Posted on

Lesa Kretschmer, CEO of Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. Named Event Chair of the Foundation Fighting Blindness 2014 South Florida VisionWalk

On Saturday, November 15, 2014 the South Florida community had the opportunity to walk at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, in support of finding a cure for blinding retinal diseases.

Florida Reading & Vision Technology Team at South Florida VisionWalk

Florida Reading & Vision Technology Team

“The Vision Walk is an excellent opportunity for the South Florida community to get involved in our grassroots effort to raise funds and awareness in the fight to cure blindness” Lesa Kretschmer

Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB)

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, the south Florida community had the opportunity to walk at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, in support of finding a cure for blinding retinal diseases. According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, diseases such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome are currently affecting more than 10 million Americans.

Florida Reading and Vision Technology Inc., leading national retailer of assistive technology for the blind and those suffering from low vision, was proud to participate in this event. “I am deeply honored to be named Honorary Chair of the 8th Annual South Florida VisionWalk,” stated Lesa Kretschmer, CEO of Florida Reading and Vision Technology, Inc. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for the south Florida community to come out and support the work the Foundation is doing to raise awareness and funds for those who have been living in darkness.”
Since 2006, VisionWalk, the Foundation’s signature 5K fundraising program, surpassed the $30 million mark, with more than 50 annual walkathons engaging 100,000 people in the fight against blindness driving the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.

Florida Reading and Vision Technology Inc. invites you to join the FRAVTI Team by registering at
http://www.fightblindness.org/goto/FloridaReadingandVisionCenter.

Founded in 2000, Florida Reading & Vision Technology Inc. has grown into a thriving e-commerce business offering more than 700 products to the blind and deaf populous. Already this year, CEO Lesa Kretschmer and her team have launched four new low vision products, sponsored or participated in a dozen events around the State of Florida.

To connect with Lesa Kretschmer and Florida Reading and Vision Technology Inc. visit http://www.floridareading.com or stop by the store at 650 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311. Like what we are doing? Show us at facebook.com/FloridaReading.

About Florida Reading & Vision Technology Inc.
According to the World Health Organization there are approximately 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. (FRAVTI) is committed to offering safe and dependable products to those seeking greater independence. Founded in 2000 by Lesa Kretschmer, Fort Lauderdale, Florida based FRAVTI offers more than 800 products and tools that help those who are blind or visually impaired meet the needs of the broader public.

To learn more or order a product visit us online or call 1-800-981-5119.

Posted on

Echo-Sense CheckMates Glasses Help the Blind to See Greater Independence

Echo-Sense CheckMates glasses help Dr. Michael Arbitman, of imUNEEK, to see greater independence. Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. featured CheckMates at National Federation of the Blind National Convention in Orlando, FL – July 2-5, 2014.

Dr. Michael Arbitman wearing Echo-Sense CheckMates Glasses

Dr. Michael Arbitman wearing Echo-Sense CheckMates Glasses

‘The CheckMates have given me back a measure of the freedom I lost when I lost my vision,’ says Arbitman who has been blind now for seven years.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) June 26, 2014

Echo-Sense, Inc. has introduced a fascinating product designed to allow family members, friends and colleagues of people who are blind and visually impaired to offer assistance in a wide variety of activities from reading and shopping to travel in airports, malls and unfamiliar situations.

This product comes in the form of a pair of electronic glasses attached to a custom charging system and phone holster which can be linked to a PC or Smartphone to provide live streaming audio and video. When the wearer of the glasses connects in this manner to another computer, the sighted person using the computer gets a view of the world from the wearer’s point of view. This setup allows the sighted person to guide the person who is blind or visually impaired.

Dr. Michael Arbitman, of imUNEEK, believes that the Echo-Sense CheckMates glasses have offered to him vastly improved quality of life. He has found the CheckMates very helpful in a wide variety of situations.

When he is wearing the CheckMates, his wife is able to read newspaper articles and the labels of his prescription medications. She can also help him to identify money when he is out shopping; having someone you can trust help to identify your currency is a definite plus.

“The CheckMates have given me back a measure of the freedom I lost when I lost my vision,” says Arbitman who has been blind now for seven years.

Arbitman has also found the glasses very helpful in the following situations. One day, he was getting ready for an event and he wanted to be color coordinated with the members of his team. He connected the CheckMates to one of his team members who helped Arbitman find the tie that was the best match for those being worn by his colleagues. On another occasion, he was setting up his surround sound and video system and became frustrated because he couldn’t get things to work properly. He whipped out his CheckMates and connected with his best friend Eddie who walked Dr. Arbitman through the setup of the Onkyo receiver with his Bose system. “I’m totally blind myself and often take on similar tasks in my home. I can think of a few occasions similar to connecting a surround sound system where the CheckMates would have really come in handy.”

Arbitman tried an especially fascinating experiment on a day when his creative juices must have been really flowing. He decided to try driving a car. He got behind the wheel and his wife was seated in the passenger seat by his side. She was able to direct him as he drove the car; don’t worry. He was just driving around a parking lot. Arbitman is so confident and comfortable with the glasses that he has carried his young child while being guided by his wife on shopping expeditions in a busy mall. Finally, Arbitman has used the CheckMates to find things on the ground such as the delivered newspaper and has discovered things like flat tires with the glasses.

The CheckMates offer the wearer an added sense of security when out and about. This would be especially helpful for those new to vision loss. As they adjust to independent travel, they can get assistance from those they trust. This would help increase their confidence and thus their independence.

Florida Reading & Vision Technology featured the Echo-Sense CheckMates Glasses at the National Federation of the Blind National Conference in Orlando, FL, July 2-5, 2014.

About Florida Reading & Vision Technology Inc.
According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. (FRAVTI) is committed to offering safe and dependable products to those seeking greater independence. Founded in 2000 by Lesa Kretschmer, Fort Lauderdale, Florida based FRAVTI offers more than 800 products and tools that help those who are blind or visually impaired meet the needs of the broader public.

CheckMates – EchoSense™ Network Glasses are now available through Florida Reading and Vision Technology located at 650 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311 or by ordering online at http://www.floridareading.com/echosense-checkmates.html. For more information please call 800-981-5119.

Posted on

Echo-Sense CheckMates Network Glasses Launched Wearables for Blind & Visually Impaired at CSUN 29th Annual International Technology & Person with Disabilities Conference

Wearables for the Visually Impaired & Blind all the Rage in the CSUN Exhibit Hall. Assistive Technology manufacturers from around the world featured their wares.

Echo-Sense CheckMates Booth at CSUN Conference

Echo-Sense CheckMates Booth at CSUN Conference

‘Our unique advantage is the ability to stream over cellular networks,’ said Haden Etheridge, from Vizion Partners.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) April 30, 2014

Representatives from agencies that serve the blind and visually impaired, assistive technology specialists, and blind consumers from around the world had the opportunity to get a live demonstration of Echo-Sense CheckMates Network Glasses – Wearables for the Blind – at the CSUN 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, CA. According to the World Health Organization there are approximately 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind.

Florida Reading and Vision Technology Inc., leading national retailer of assistive technology for the blind and those suffering from low vision, is proud to participate in this annual event. “I love participating in the CSUN conference as it allows me to get feedback from around the globe as to the value of a new product,” states Lesa Kretschmer, CEO of Florida Reading and Vision Technology, Inc. “This international event also provides individuals the opportunity to take part in bring innovation to the blind & visually impaired community.”

Echo-Sense CheckMates Network Glasses enable the wearer to connect to family, friends, and colleagues via the cellular network or WiFi access point to a VPN server. The server reflects the live video and audio streams to the observer, who is connected and signed on the Echo-Sense monitor site. This live stream is viewed on a desktop, laptop or mobile device. The wearer’s location and orientation is superimposed on a Google map, and real-time streaming audio and 120 degree view from the glasses of the wearer’s perspective. The person monitoring or viewing the site can see events as they unfold, and also instruct the wearer to perform certain tasks such as navigation guides whereby insuring their comfort and safety.

“Our unique advantage is the ability to stream over cellular networks,” said Haden Etheridge, from Vizion Partners. “I have a whole new understanding of the value of Echo-Sense CheckMates after getting to witness first hand testimony of so many people who are blind, and who are getting to try them for the first time,” he said.

“Does this mean my mom can call me when she is at the mall and I will be able to tell her how to get back to the bus stop so that I won’t have to go pick her up?” said Shelley, whose elderly visually impaired mother lives with her. CheckMates developer, Milan Slamka of Echo-Sense, Inc. was quick to tell her, “Yes, and this is just the beginning of the increased independence she will have by using CheckMates when she is out of her comfort zone or needs a little extra guidance from a trusted family member or friend.”

Stephen, a prospective distributor commented, “CheckMates would allow my visually impaired technicians to call in when they need that extra bit of assistance like a back up set up eyes, saving the expense of a second technician having to fly across the country to be on-site in a timely manner!”

Florida Reading & Vision Technology’s team includes developer, Milan Slamka, Echo-Sense, Inc., and Vizion Partners.

Echo-Sense has developed critical IP that will revolutionize the way connectivity and real-time video can be delivered over mobile cellular networks and WiFi Access Points. Echo-Sense IP is summarized in four (4) US patent applications and two (2) International PCT’s. Echo-Sense development are direct reflection of working through a series of International experts in DSP’s/Customer ASIC’s, FL, Acoustics, Firmware/Software and Electronic Architecture and relationships with worldwide leading experts at leading universities from around the globe.

Founded in 2000, Florida Reading & Vision Technology Inc. has grown into a thriving e-commerce business offering more than 600 products to the blind and deaf populous. Already this year, CEO Lesa Kretschmer and her team have launched several new low vision and blindness products, hosted several Train the Trainer Clinics, and has begun traveling nationwide to promote Echo-Sense CheckMates Network Glasses.

Posted on

Enroll in ZoomText University!

ZTUniversityLogo 

Two-Day Training Course in Fort Lauderdale, FL

When: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 & Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Where: Florida Reading and Vision Technology
What: ZoomText University

Times: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

If you are a teacher that needs to know how to use the latest screen magnification technology, an IT professional that needs to assist low vision clients, a student or current ZoomText customer who needs to know how to get the most out of ZoomText, then this hands-on training is just for you.

Ai Squared and Florida Reading and Vision Technology are proud to announce ZoomText training in Fort Lauderdale, FL on September 16 – 17, 2014. The training will be located at the following address:

Florida Reading and Vision Technology
Lighthouse of Broward County
650 N. Andrews Ave. Suite 115
Fort Lauderdale, FL  33311

What do you get when you sign up for ZoomText training?

  • Hands-on training with an authorized Ai Squared Trainer
  • An understanding for all of the advanced features of ZoomText 10
  • Knowledge on how to use Microsoft Office and ZoomText together effectively
  • Familiarity of the Internet and how to use it to its full advantage with ZoomText
  • Information on how to customize ZoomText for your specific preferences
  • 1.2 CEUs available (for an additional fee of $25)

Unlike other training courses that can cost up to $1,000 or more, ZoomText training is only $399 per student for a two-day class!  Ai Squared accepts most major credit cards, checks, money orders, and almost all state authorizations.

To sign up for the training, please contact Kimberly Cline at Ai Squared by phone at 802-367-6152, by e-mail at kcline@aisquared.com or you can register online.
For directions to the training location, please call Florida Reading at 800-981-5119.

Space is limited, so sign up soon!

Posted on

The Florida Reading & Vision Technology Center Brings the Community Together to Honor Macular Degeneration Awareness Day – May 1, 2013

May 1st of each year has been selected by the Senate of the State of Florida as Macular Degeneration Awareness Day to direct public attention to the disease and the need for rehabilitation. Leading the charge in Ft. Lauderdale, the Florida Reading & Vision Technology Center hosted a FREE event on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 pm. at the Lighthouse of Broward (650 N Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311).

Florida Reading and Vision Technology
(L to R): Elly du Pre,Dr. Danzig, Nicole Patterson and Lesa Kretschmer

Participants enjoyed hands-on demonstrations of the latest technology available, remarks about current treatments and research from Dr. Danzig of the RAND Eye Institute and a presentation regarding low vision exams from Nova Southeastern’s OD Chief of Low Vision and Geriatric Services, Nicole Patterson.

Representatives from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Talking Books Library and Division of Blind Services were on hand. Additionally, all attendees had the opportunity to tour the Lighthouse and shop at the Florida Reading and Vision Technology Center – one of 30 low vision “toy” stores nationwide.

Affecting more than 11 million people each year, Macular Degeneration is a disease that requires continuing educational resources and cutting edge technology.  Numerous Broward County municipalities have expressed their unwavering support for the services provided by organizations such as the Florida Reading & Vision Technology Center by issuing proclamations recognizing May 1st as Macular Degeneration Awareness Day.

“It’s an honor to receive support from an overwhelming number of cities such as Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Dania Beach and Plantation, just to name a few,” stated Lesa Kretschmer, President of Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. “We are pleased to be hosting this event to not only offer support for those whose suffer from Macular Degeneration but to raise community-wide awareness.”

Macular Degeneration is a medical condition which is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults ages 50 years and older. This debilitating damage to the retina, known as Macular Degeneration, can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

About Florida Reading & Vision Technology Inc.

According to the World Health Organization there are approximately 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Florida Reading & Vision Technology, Inc. (FRAVTI) is committed to offering safe and dependable products to those seeking greater independence. Founded in 2000 by Lesa Kretschmer, Fort Lauderdale, Florida based FRAVTI offers more than 800 products and tools that help those who are blind or visually impaired meet the needs of the broader public.

To learn more or order a product visit www.floridareading.com or call 1-800-981-5119. Like what we are doing? Show us at Facebook.com/floridareading

Posted on

September is National Preparedness Month! TIPS for First Responders: Assisting people with Low Vision or Hearing Impairments

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Florida Reading and Vision Technology Inc., serves clients all across the United States and wants to ensure that regardless of region, all are equipped with preparedness tips. Whether you are a resident or First Responder the below tips can help you be better prepared this season.

TIPS for First Responders: Assisting people with Visual or Hearing Impairments

First Responders provide essential services when a disaster impacts a community, including preventing further damage and ensuring steady recovery operations. However, when assisting a visually or hearing impaired individual the following tips should be adhered to:

People with Service Animals

Traditionally, the term “service animal” referred to seeing-eye dogs. However, today there are many other types of service animals.

  • Remember – a service animal is not a pet.
    • Do not touch or give the animal food or treats without the permission of the owner.
    • When a dog is wearing its harness, it is on duty. In the event you are asked to take the dog while assisting the individual, hold the leash and not the harness.
  • Plan to evacuate the animal with the owner. Do not separate them!
    • Service animals are not registered and there is no proof that the animal is a service animal. If the person tells you it is a service animal, treat it as such. However, if the animal is out of control or presents a threat to the individual or others, remove it from the site.
    • A person is not required to give you proof of a disability that requires a service animal. You must accept that he/she has a disability. If you have doubts, wait until you arrive at your destination and address the issue with the supervisors in charge.
    • The animal need not be specially trained as a service animal. People with psychiatric and emotional disabilities may have a companion animal. These are just as important to them as a service animal is to a person with a physical disability – please be understanding and treat the animal as a service animal.
    • A service animal must be in a harness or on a leash, but need not be muzzled.

 

 People who are Visually Impaired

  • There is a difference between visual impairment and blindness. Some people who are “legally blind” have some sight, while others are totally blind.
  • Announce your presence, speak out, and then enter the area.
  • Speak naturally and directly to the individual.
  • Do not shout.
  • Don’t be afraid to use words like “see,” “look,” or “blind.”
    • State the nature of the emergency and offer them your arm. As you walk, advise them of any obstacles.
  • Offer assistance but let the person explain what help is needed.
  • Do not grab or attempt to guide them without first asking them.
  • Let the person grasp your arm or shoulder lightly for guidance.
    • They may choose to walk slightly behind you to gauge your body’s reactions to obstacles.
  • Be sure to mention stairs, doorways, narrow passages, ramps, etc.
    • When guiding someone to a seat, place the person’s hand on the back of the chair.
    • If leading several individuals with visual impairments, ask them to guide the person behind them.
    • Remember that you’ll need to communicate any written information orally.
    • When you have reached safety, orient the person to the location and ask if any further assistance is needed.
    • If the person has a service animal, don’t pet it unless the person says it is ok to do so. Service animals must be evacuated with the person.
  • Refer to the section on People with Service Animals.

 

People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • There is a difference between hard of hearing and deaf. People who are hearing impaired vary in the extent of hearing loss they experience. Some are completely deaf, while others can hear almost normally with hearing aids on.
  • Hearing aids do not guarantee that the person can hear and understand speech. They increase volume, not increase clarity.
  • If possible, flick the lights when entering an area or room to get their attention.
  • Establish eye contact with the individual, not with the interpreter, if one is present.
  • Use facial expressions and hand gestures as visual cues.
  • Check to see if you have been understood and repeat if necessary.
  • Offer pencil and paper. Write slowly and let the individual read as you write.
  • Written communication may be especially important if you are unable to understand the person’s speech.
  • Do not allow others to interrupt you while conveying the emergency information.
  • Be patient – the person may have difficulty understanding the urgency of your message.
  • Provide the person with a flashlight to signal their location in the event they are separated from the rescue team. This will facilitate lip-reading or signing in the dark.
  • While written communication should work for many people, others may not understand English well enough in English to understand written instructions. Keep instructions simple, in the present tense and use basic vocabulary.