Learn how to best prepare for emergencies and natural disasters.
From power outages to fires and tornadoes to hurricanes, disasters can take on many forms. To best prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, experts suggest empowering yourself by becoming your own “emergency manager.” Start by thinking about your emergency alert strategies and what you would need to survive for 72 hours after a disaster strikes. To help, we have compiled these tips for disaster preparation for people with hearing loss.
- Get a hearing loss-friendly weather-alert radio
- Sign up for reverse 911 calls
- Train for disasters
- Form a support system
- Assemble an emergency kit
Continue reading to learn more about these emergency preparedness ideas for people with hearing loss:
1. Get a hearing loss-friendly weather-alert radio
The National Weather Service broadcasts continuous weather information on a nationwide network called NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). To receive hazard information in your area, look for NWR receivers with special output connectors that work together with your other alerting devices, such as security systems, bed shakers, pillow vibrators, strobe lights, and more.
2. Sign up for reverse 911 alerts
You can receive a text alert on your smartphone from local emergency officials with instructions to evacuate or avoid certain areas during a disaster. Signing up for this service can help you receive life-saving information up to 20 minutes sooner than local news sources or social media. To register, provide your mobile number and home address here.
To learn more about reverse 911 alerts, watch this short video. To turn closed captions on, click the CC button in the lower right.
3. Train for disasters
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs are available in many cities to educate and prepare citizens for potential disasters that could affect their area. Program participants receive basic disaster response skills, including fire safety and medical operations. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires its CERT instructors to ensure the classrooms and training environments are accessible for people with hearing loss. Some venues have assistive listening systems, while others may offer microphones for amplified sound or access to sign language interpreters. Contact your CERT program manager before your training to let them know your preferences.
To find a CERT program near you, contact your local fire department, law enforcement agency, or emergency management agency.
4. Form a support system
If you live alone, form a small network of neighbors, friends, and family that can work together during an emergency to ensure everyone is safe and stays up-to-date on the latest emergency news. Let your network know about any health concerns, assistive listening devices, or critical medical supplies that may be useful to responders who may need to step in to help you during a disaster.
5. Assemble an emergency kit
Pack a bag with everything you need should a disaster strike, including these emergency preparedness items for people with hearing loss:
- 4-week supply of hearing aid batteries
- Battery charger for cochlear implants
- Flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Pen and paper (for writing messages)
- Waterproof container to keep your hearing aids in
- List of important phone numbers, including your audiologist and hearing aid device dealer)
- A battery removal tool
If you have a hearing dog, don’t forget to assemble a kit for him or her too. It should include:
- Food and treats to last 1-2 weeks
- A few bottles of water (for at least the first 24 hours)
- A collar and leash
- Your service ID (shelters will only allow animals with their service ID admittance)
- Copies of your dog’s immunization records (including a rabies certificate)
While we hope you will never encounter an emergency, these disaster preparation tips for people with hearing loss can help you take action to ensure you’re ready just in case you do. For more articles on living with hearing loss, visit our blog today.