Risk inclusion of vulnerable people during a climate-related disaster: A case study of people with hearing loss facing wildfires

Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi, Isaac Ashkenazi, Carmit Rapaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires, and this risk is particularly acute and severe for people with disabilities. The purpose of this study is to understand the challenges people with hearing loss face when responding to wildfires. We address those issues by examining communication channels available to people with hearing loss, including sign language and social media, and how those tools can mitigate the challenges that this population faces during wildfires. We collected online videos in sign language and analyzed narrative experiences that provided a comprehensive overview of coping behaviors by individuals with hearing loss during wildfires. The analysis describes the coping process during extreme wildfires while highlighting specific needs that can be proactively mitigated during the preparedness phase for fires. The results indicate that individuals with hearing loss, especially Deaf people, constitute a vulnerable group during emergencies due to various communication deficiencies, primarily the inability to access critical information at the right time and in an adequate format. The study suggests a comprehensive risk communication management approach, including the use of social media. These findings can serve emergency leaders and managers when preparing for and responding to emergencies and might lead to life-saving preparedness action and increased well-being, a decrease of some vulnerability aspects among people with hearing loss and increased personal and community resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104335
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Community resilience
  • Disaster and emergency
  • Mutual responsibility
  • People with hearing loss
  • Vulnerable people
  • Wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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