Media release: NZSL is essential to “Get Ready” for emergencies

Deaf people across Aotearoa New Zealand will now have access to comprehensive advice about emergency preparedness, with New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week marking the launch of Get Ready in NZSL by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in partnership with Deaf Aotearoa.


 

Deaf people across Aotearoa New Zealand will now have access to comprehensive advice about emergency preparedness, with New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week marking the launch of Get Ready in NZSL by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in partnership with Deaf Aotearoa.

Getready.govt.nz supports individuals, whānau, communities, schools and businesses to get ready for, respond to and recover from emergency events.   Get Ready in NZSL sees all life safety and emergency preparedness advice across almost the website translated into NZSL.

“Everyone has a right to accessible information before, during and after emergencies.  This initiative means that Deaf people now have access to the same information as everybody else about how to get prepared for emergencies,” says NEMA Chief Executive Dave Gawn.

“These improvements reflect NZSL’s status as one of Aotearoa’s three official languages, while empowering Deaf people to prepare themselves and their whānau for emergencies.

“This was an ambitious undertaking which saw the production of 67 translation videos. This is the first time New Zealand has had a comprehensive one stop shop for emergency advice in NZSL.”

Mr Gawn recognised the mahi of Deaf Aotearoa, who provided advice and guidance throughout the project and developed the translation videos.

Deaf Aotearoa Chief Executive Lachlan Keating says, “When the earthquakes struck Christchurch, many in the Deaf community were isolated and at risk. There was very little information available in NZSL and it took almost two days to get interpreters on TV.

“Since that time, and in particular over the past six years, Deaf Aotearoa has been working closely with local Civil Defence groups and nationally with NEMA to improve their responsiveness to the Deaf community.”

Dave Gawn says Get Ready in NZSL is part of a wider project that has seen the website brought into line with the latest national and international accessibility standards, and ten languages incrementally added, including NZSL and Te Reo. It will also be available in Easy Read, audio and large print.  NZSL content can be accessed through the language tab at the top right corner of the website.

Mr Gawn says the project is the latest milestone from a fruitful partnership between NEMA and Deaf Aotearoa. The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 and have collaborated on a number of initiatives to champion and enable the use of NZSL to inform Deaf people about emergencies.  This week the two organisations, together with Auckland Emergency Management, also launched the Let’s Talk Emergencies booklet to teach people 25 NZSL signs that can be used in an emergency.


Published: May 12, 2022, 3:31 PM