Sight will no longer be a barrier for the blind community when it comes to receiving emergency weather updates.
Through a partnership of AccuWeather and the National Federation for the Blind, breaking weather updates can now be accessed through the NFB-NEWSLINE — better known as the audio newspaper service — which provides subscribers with access to more than 300 newspapers and magazines, said Chris Danielsen, the NFB’s director of public relations.
Users can call in and receive news articles and information through what Danielsen called a “text to speech” system, which makes it possible for members of the blind community to access the news.
With the new service, the severe or emergency weather update will be one of the first notifications subscribers receive upon calling in, Danielsen said.
The service will provide another way for the breaking weather alerts to be received, as well as make sure a significant portion of the community is not left out in potentially lifesaving information, said Justin Roberti, an AccuWeather spokesman.
“There’s no place where that is more essential than dealing with people who truly need to receive this [information] in a different form,” he said.
Danielsen said the NFB has already gotten many calls from subscribers who are interested in making sure their subscriptions do not lapse and that they, too, will be receiving the new updates.
AccuWeather Founder and President Joel Myers — a Penn State trustee — also said that AccuWeather is proud to work with the NFB in reaching audiences that have a need for this kind of news.
“This is particularly important when providing severe weather alerts which are not only of interest to those served by the National Federation of the Blind but are also potentially life saving,” Myers said.
The NFB-NEWSLINE is free to any member of the blind and can be accessed through both computers and smart phones, Danielsen said. The NFB is also home to more than 500,000 members, according to a press release issued by the organization.