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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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Health Emergency Warning for the Hearing Impaired

Subject:
Health Emergency Warning for the Hearing Impaired - Class 1 Recalls
Area:
Operations Management
Date Revised:
July, 15 1994

 

 

PURPOSE

To provide operating procedures for informing the hearing impaired about Class I recalls or other FDA-related health emergencies.

 

BACKGROUND

On May 10, 1983, the Commissioner approved a recommendation made by the Agency's Handicapped Employees Advisory Committee to improve upon the Agency's efforts in reaching the hearing impaired.

As was pointed out in the proposal, when health emergencies occur it is important that all individuals who may possibly be harmed be notified of the potential hazard. However, reaching certain disabled persons, especially impaired persons who do not have closed captioning adapters for their television sets rely on the news which is interpreted on a limited basis in most locations throughout the country. The only other option is printed news, which may appear as much as 24 hours after the emergency warning has been announced on television.

The following procedures should be followed during all Class I Recalls or any other FDA-related health emergency.

 

PROCEDURE

  • Each district should identify and maintain a list of organizations that communicate with the hearing-impaired. The list should contain a contact person, address, and telephone number. This list should be updated annually.

  • The Public Affairs Specialist and the Handicapped Representative in each district should work together to telephone each contact organization and provide them with information about the Class I Recall/or emergency issue.

  • All FDA press releases about Class I Recalls/emergencies should include a statement requesting the TV media to use open captions to alert consumers to the danger or to otherwise direct them to other appropriate sources of information. FDA press releases should also on a routine basis contain a statement suggesting that hearing persons advise any hearing impaired relatives or friends of the emergency situation.