Manchester invests in disability access

Manchester City Council has invested £500,000 in improving accessibility and safety for disabled users at both G-Mex and Manchester International Convention Centre, following DDA and internal audits. Among improvements are the removal of barriers and the implementation of a fire alarm warning and messaging system for the deaf and hard of hearing, called Deaf Alerter. Similar to a pager, the hand-held tool beeps, vibrates and flashes up messages when activated by the fire alarm. Deaf Alerter marketing manager Liz Parslow said that Manchester was one of the first cities to use this technology – which is already in operation in smaller venues across the country and both Belfast and Birmingham airports – to make a difference in the events arena. “It could even be used to alert people to seminars and events – flashing up when and where the next seminar is starting,” she said. “This is a great step forward as it will give deaf and hard of hearing people equal access to fire safety,” she added. “More than 15% of the population is hard of hearing to some degree; far more than people think. This shows a commitment to the DDA – which many companies have not thought about yet, even though it’s been law for two years.”

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