While no one ever wants to think about disasters and similar emergencies, the truth is that they do happen, and it is essential to be prepared when they strike. This preparation is especially important for those that are hearing impaired. Though improved systems with a focus on accessibility are becoming more and more common, as with so many other things in this hearing world, many emergency procedures were initially designed with the hearing in mind. It is for this reason that those affected by hearing loss must take extra steps to ensure their safety during an emergency.
Disasters can strike suddenly. Take your safety into your own hands when you plan ahead. These tips can help you prepare:
Create a Plan
As with anyone preparing for a disaster, it’s important to have a plan in place for every situation. Know how you will reconnect with your family if you are separated. Get familiar with the plans in place for your city, workplace and other places you spend time. This template can help get you started.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Along with first aid, food, water and similar essentials, include a pad of paper and pen, flashlight and spare batteries. Also, consider a battery-operated radio or television with captioning which can be a great way to stay informed during a disaster. Keep vital documents, insurance information and other essentials at the ready in case disaster strikes. Add phrase cards that alert others to your hearing impairment to these important documents or in your emergency kit.
Hearing Aids and Batteries
Store hearing aids and extra batteries in a consistent and easily accessible place for quick retrieval in the event of an emergency. If possible, keep an extra hearing aid and batteries in your emergency kit. If a disaster does strike, these will be essential and difficult to replace.
Consider How You’ll Be Notified
In the event of an emergency, you will need to be notified quickly, and many standard notifications in place do not take into account those that are hearing impaired. The good news is that more and more options are available depending on where you live including:
Additionally, reach out to friends, family and neighbors to ensure that in the event of an emergency, especially at night, someone is there to notify you.
Connect with Local Agencies
Discuss your situation and needs with local fire, police and emergency teams and neighborhood groups to better understand their plans for notification and assistance in a disaster and how you can better plan for yourself with those procedures in mind. How do they plan to notify you and keep you informed in the case of a disaster? What assistance will they provide and how can you help them to better assist you?
Do you have a disaster plan in place? It may not be a pleasant topic to think about, but preparedness is key. These tips and resources can help you be ready should disaster strike.