On Oct. 9, 2017 Sonoma County in California experienced an outbreak of fires that posed threat to many lives and destroyed homes. Among those that lost their homes, a deaf community of approximately 500 people were basically oblivious to the warnings given about the fires. There were text messages, automated calls, sirens in the street etc. but for the deaf community, Oct. 9th was just another silent night.
The deaf community expresses their concern and frustration. Thankfully there were survivors that made it out of their homes, but they were only notified hours after everyone else by neighbors or family members that knew they would not be able to hear the warnings everyone else would be able to hear.
Several couples that came forward with their stories explained that they were woken by the smell of smoke or vibrations from near the house.
This issue with communication during emergency situations happens everywhere.
Advocates such as Vance Deatherage with Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency work to improve help for deaf evacuees, making things more accessible.
More information and coverage on individual stories from deaf survivors included in source linked in title.