MEDIA ADVISORY: Volunteer-led ‘EmergenSee’ Workshop Helps San Diegans with Low Vision See Beyond the Emergency

MEDIA ADVISORY: Volunteer-led ‘EmergenSee’ Workshop Helps San Diegans with Low Vision See Beyond the Emergency
June, 2017 Client News


  • Thinking about an emergency is a scary thought for anyone; however, it’s more frightening not knowing what to do when an emergency strikes and you are an individual who is visually impaired or blind.
  • This is the first-ever “EmergenSee: Seeing Beyond the Emergency” workshop hosted by Braille Institute San Diego.
  • Participants who are visually impaired will experience hands-on interactive activities on how to be prepared in emergency situations, including a fire, power outage, or natural disaster.
  • Braille Institute is dedicated to helping people live well with low vision. Teaching Braille is a very small service offering, as nearly 90 percent of their students (youth and adults) have some remaining vision, and it’s their mission to support independence as their students’ vision changes.
  • Attendees are encouraged to prep and practice emergency evacuation plans before a disaster strikes, especially because they will need to adapt the way they manage an emergency.
  • Free Admission. Free parking offered on a first come, first served basis.

WHEN: Friday, June 16, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon

WHERE: Braille Institute San Diego Center, 4555 Executive Drive, San Diego, CA 92121

PUBLIC RSVP: Online at or call 858-452-1111.


  • Information on all the necessities for an emergency or first aid kit
  • The important papers to have on hand in an emergency, including guide dog certification, home deed, cash and banking information, emergency contacts and numbers, insurance, and identification.
  • The personal care items to have accessible in case of emergency, including low vision aids (i.e. magnifier, pen friend), portable vision appliances, cane, extra guide dog leash, pet food, toiletries, and clothing.
  • Other emergency measures the event will touch on are the following:
    • Location of emergency exits, gas, water and electric shut off valves.
    • Emergency routes in case usual routes are not in operation.
    • Information regarding evacuation transportation for individuals with disabilities
    • A list of emergency contacts and numbers on paper as well as in a format that works with the individual’s level of vision (i.e. smart phone, tablet, tape recorder or pen).
    • A landline with numbers pre-programmed in case of a problem with cell phone signal and texting would also be helpful.
    • A list for family and or caregivers so they know where to find you.
    • Creating a disaster buddy system with friends, neighbors and family, and make contacts with individuals and agencies both local (such as the local fire house or Red Cross affiliate).


  • An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) will lead a workshop on what individuals with low vision and their loved ones can do to be better prepared in an emergency situation. He will provide all the necessities for an emergency or first aid kit.
  • At 11 a.m., Braille Institute San Diego students with low or no vision will have an opportunity to tour a fire truck courtesy of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Students will use their sense of touch and hearing to experience the different characteristics of the fire truck.
  • Guests and students with low vision, and their loved ones learning more about the vehicle, and what the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department does in the event of a fire, rescue or other medical emergency.


  • Several San Diego residents expected to attend who are affected by vision loss, either themselves or loved ones.
  • People with vision loss who have either cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or other related eye conditions.
  • Anyone who has permanent vision loss affecting their daily living activities (like reading, cooking, driving) are encouraged to attend.


  • Darlene G. Miller, M.A., educational programs manager of the San Diego Center can answer questions about the event as well as classes and services offered, and the mission of Braille Institute.
  • Brian Ha, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), can speak to the emergency tips he will be providing during the workshop, including what to expect and how to be prepared when you call 911 or in any emergency.
    • Ha will also touch upon how individuals who are visually impaired can be prepared for general disasters and accidents.
    • NOTE: Brian Ha is a former Braille Institute San Diego youth assistant.
  • Inspiring students, volunteers and teachers who can speak about the impact of the classes and programs on their daily lives.


  • According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, 20.6 million adult Americans reported vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts – this is just more than six percent of the U.S. population.
  • It is a stereotype that Braille Institute only teaches people how to read and communicate using Braille – this is a very small part of what they offer to the public, and is usually taught to students who are born blind or with significant vision loss.
  • All classes and services offered by Braille Institute are free of charge. By learning about tips and techniques to help maintain independence despite vision loss, students who attend classes regularly experience a renewed sense of confidence, gain independence, and are given the necessary tools to live well with low vision.
  • Programs are available in English and Spanish, and include one-on-one consults and small group classes to help adults with little to no vision build practical skills, and gain or regain independence.
  • Classes are developed and taught for those who are blind and visually impaired. Some of the students who have benefitted from Braille Institute services have become teachers themselves!