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Storm warnings for the deaf

LAWTON--Tornado sirens.  Emergency tones on TV or radio.  A phone call from a neighbor.  All ways people can hear about impending disaster because of severe weather, unless of course you're deaf.

"About 80 percent of the deaf and hard of hearing population feel uncomfortable because they feel they don't get the proper notification in an emergency event," said Comanche County Public Information Officer Chris Killmer.

That's where OK-WARN steps in.  OK-WARN is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service--Norman Forecast Office.  OK-WARN will send out a page to pagers, cell phones, even email when an emergency or weather event occurs in your area.

"One of the greatest losses of life because of a disaster is immediately following the disaster," said Red Cross Emergency Services Director Anne Thompson.  "People make bad choices or don't make any choice at all."

Comanche County will host an informational meeting about OK-WARN on Monday April 30th beginning at 6pm at the Prairie Building at the Great Plains Coliseum.  The County will also provide information on purchasing NOAA Weather Radios for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Volunteers who are Level 4 or Level 5 certified in American Sign Language are also needed to interpret the event for those who may need it.  If you have any questions you can call Comanche County Emergency Management at (580) 355-1285.

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