Creating Accessible Recreation Facilities – Walkthrough

Creating Accessible Recreation Facilities – Walkthrough


Announcer VO: In many towns
and cities in Ontario, recreation facilities
are the hub of the community, where residents of all ages
come together to enjoy a diverse range
of fun, healthy programs. While each facility
may assume it provides a consistent experience
for all patrons, a few simple
and inexpensive solutions can remove barriers
in the built environment and make a facility
more accessible. For people who are
Deaf and hard of hearing, visual communication systems
can make all the difference. By adopting any number of
the universal design principles in this video, your community’s recreation facility can become a welcome
and engaging place for everyone to enjoy. First impressions count. When facility patrons
first enter the building, electronic message boards
are able to not only greet visitors, but also guide them,
or update them on events. By installing LCD screens in meeting rooms, hallways,
or even change rooms, guests can access valuable,
multi-purpose information throughout the building. Visual signage systems
are helpful tools for everyone, but for people who are
Deaf and hard of hearing, these visual message boards can provide crucial
real time communication that they can’t get any other way. Your recreation facility
is a busy place, where noisy environments
can make it challenging for any of us to hear well. Swimming pools and ice rinks
can be made safer for patrons who are
Deaf or hard of hearing by installing visual alarms. Visual alarms,
such as strobe lights, should be used in different areas
throughout the facility, and installed in highly visible,
unobstructed locations. Strong strobe lights can ensure
an equal and immediate response in the event of an emergency. When audible announcements are made, people who are Deaf and hard of hearing are notified instantly
through bright flashing lights. Often visual fire alarms are placed in areas such as hallways
or common areas. But it’s equally important
to add them to change rooms, or any area within the facility where Deaf and hard of hearing
individuals may be alone. Unexpected hazards
can found behind each door, or lie waiting
just around the corner. Emergency readiness includes
doors with window cut-outs, so people who are
Deaf and hard of hearing can safely see anyone coming
in or out of the room, or to determine
if classes are in progress, or if anything dangerous
is happening inside the room. Convex mirrors in hallway corners can alert patrons on foot
to both emergency situations and keep them safe
from on-coming traffic. Individuals who are
hard of hearing may or may not use hearing aids, but the challenges within
busy environments are the same. Unwanted background noise
is easily eliminated, and communication is made clear through the use of
Assistive Listening Systems. The Assistive Listening Systems
available to your recreation facility can be used to amplify
live or pre-recorded messages, or other audio sources
like movies or music. Systems include
FM Radio Transmitters and Infrared and Loop Systems. The FM system seen here
has several advantages. It’s portable,
the transmitter is small and can be used in any room, no permanent installation
is required, and each individual has access to their own personal
receiving device. Counterloop systems have also
been gaining in popularity. Retail settings,
restaurants, libraries, and other public facilities
in the United Kingdom have used this technology for years in places where
the first point of contact and clear communication is critical. Ontario is quickly following suit, and your recreation facility
can too. When placed at
information desks, kiosks, or other points
of face-to-face contact, the easy to install
Counterloop system makes use of a hearing aid’s
existing T-switch. Sound is sent directly to
the hearing aid in just one click, with no need for a separate device. Recreation facility staff members
without sign language training can communicate effectively
and efficiently with people who are
Deaf or hard of hearing using text-to-text
communication devices. Devices like the UbiDuo make it easy
to carry on a conversation with each person typing into
the two-way device to communicate. Fully portable, the UbiDuo
can be used in any location, and in any facility. Recreation facilities are meant
for everyone living in your community. Empower your staff to provide a warm, welcoming experience
to everyone, including people who are
Deaf or hard of hearing. With proper training,
some simple tools, and by making a few small, inexpensive
changes to your facility, you can increase the accessibility
of your facility so everyone can enjoy the fun
and healthful benefits your recreation facility
was built to provide. For more information
on how you can remove barriers in your recreation facility, contact
the Canadian Hearing Society or visit us online at chs.ca. Thanks for watching.

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