By Anna Conkey, NBC San Diego
Braille Institute San Diego hosted a new training event to prepare the visually impaired for emergency situations Friday.
The EmergenSee class is a new effort by Braille Institute San Diego to help the visually impaired practice activities to prepare them for situations like fires, natural disasters or power outages, according to a statement.
The class was led by volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). They provided a hands-on opportunity for the visually impaired to practice what to do in emergencies, and what extra steps to take in preparation for an accident or disaster.
“Thinking of an emergency is a scary thought for anybody, and when you’re visually impaired it can be harder and even more challenging,” said Darlene Miller, the Braille Institute San Diego’s Education Programs Manager.
“We wanted to bring in some experts and people with tips so they can feel empowered and independent to handle emergencies on their own, said Miller.
A fire truck and fire department staff was available to demonstrate various procedures taken in emergency situations, and allow class attendees to hear and recognize different sounds a fire truck makes, as well as go up and explore the fire truck.
“On a daily basis they’re dealing with simple tasks that may take longer and be more challenging than for those of us that are sighted,” said Miller. “Those little things require adaptive tools and techniques that they need to master in order to do them independently.”
Some of the extra steps the visually impaired are reminded to do is carry a white cane, count the number of steps to emergency routes, always be aware of emergency exits before an emergency occurs, and have caregiver information available.
Miller said the emergency preparedness class is just one of many available at the Braille Institute San Diego to help the visually impaired maintain independence with daily living.