NPR Labs Seek D/HH Volunteers to Test Alerting System

NPR Labs Seek Deaf and Hard of Hearing Volunteers to Test Alerting System

June 25, 2014

TDI is pleased to share some exciting news about a new alerting system being tested in the Gulf States. If you or anyone you know that lives in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas, please read this announcement and help spread the word.

As some of you are aware, NPR and Towson University near Baltimore are working with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to create an emergency alert system in areas where natural disasters are prevalent. The project is funded by a government grant to develop a system that enables deaf or hard-of-hearing residents of the Gulf Coast to receive real-time emergency information through radio broadcasts. NPR Labs has developed and built a radio receiver (see photo below) that can receive emergency information (such as weather alerts) and then trigger one of several devices such as a bed-shaker or strobe light.

Your participation will make a difference in future weather disasters that will happen throughout the United States.


NPR is looking for volunteers to test an accessible emergency and weather alerting system that has been developed by NPR Labs. This system has been specifically designed for citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing, used when other forms of alerting may not be available.

The system uses radio broadcasts to send these alerts. To ensure that our system works, we are conducting a field trial where people test it and provide us valuable feedback.

For the test, you will be provided with a specially designed radio receiver and a 7-inch Android tablet, which acts as a viewing screen for the receiver. During a two-week period in July, test messages will be sent to this receiver and you will be asked to read these messages and fill out a short survey, either on the web, or if you prefer, sent to you on your email. At the end of the test, you will fill out another short survey on how the whole experiment went. For your trouble, you can keep the receiver and the tablet (valued over $100).

In order to participate, you must live close enough to a participating NPR station so that you can receive the test messages. The program is taking place in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Below is a list of the radio stations and areas of coverage.

Radio Station City
KERA Dallas, TX
KUHF Houston, TX
WLRN Miami, FL
WUSF Tampa, FL
WPBI West Palm Beach, FL
WMFE Orlando, FL
KUT Austin, TX
WUFT Gainesville, FL
WWNO New Orleans, LA
WBHM Birmingham, AL
WJCT Jacksonville, FL
WRKF Baton Rouge, LA
WJAB Huntsville, AL
WMPN Jackson, MS
WHIL Mobile, AL

We invite anyone who resides in these areas and has hearing difficulty to contact us. We will let you know quickly based on your street address whether you have a good chance to receive the signals. If you do, you will be sent all the equipment and any instructions required to set it up. You do NOT have to be a techie to participate – minimal setup required!

If you are interested in volunteering and would like to complete the application for participation, please email [email protected] and provide your name, your street address and contact information. Please put “NPR Emergency Test 2” in the subject line. Someone from NPR will then be in touch to discuss next steps.

If you would like to read more information about this project, please visit

Thank you!


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