With the recent hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), a nonprofit organization that supports hearing and balance research in the United States, encourages everyone to have an action plan, the HHF announced.
For people with hearing loss, emergencies can bring extra challenges and anxiety. When it comes to natural disasters and situations where safety is at stake, an action plan can put you and your loved ones at ease.
Here are some of HHF’s tips for navigating one’s hearing loss needs during emergencies:
1. Stock Up and Know Your Power Sources:
- Keep extra batteries in your emergency kit:
- It is recommended to have a month’s worth of hearing aid batteries on hand.
- For cochlear implants, consider a portable battery charger, since batteries generally last for about eight hours.
- Procure a waterproof/sealed container to protect devices in extreme weather.
- Depending on the model, cars can charge devices through their USB ports.
2. Have an Emergency Contact List
- Keep your hearing healthcare professional’s number on hand, in addition to those for your devices’ companies for emergency support or repairs.
- Contact your local mayor’s office, and introduce yourself to the local police and fire departments.
- Notify Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), neighborhood watch, community block associations, religious leadership, and other local groups about your needs.
3. Communications With Authorities
- Ensure access to a regular landline phone (not cordless), battery-powered amplifier, or battery-powered TTY.
- Have 2-3 friends locally, and one out-of-state, who agree to check up on you in case of an emergency.
- If you’re able, use social media to stay in touch and ask friends for help.
- Check with your local emergency management office to find out if Reverse 911 is available and if they have TTY capabilities; Reverse 911 will call YOU in an emergency.
4. Emergency Alerts
- Install visual fire alarms with strobe lights.
- Sign up for The Emergency Email & Wireless Network alerts at emergencyemail.org.
- NOAA Weather Radio provides early warnings of weather and other emergencies and is programmed to alert you to hazards in your specific area.
If you are deaf or have hearing loss and would like more resources on developing an emergency preparation plan, please contact us at [email protected] or 212.257.6140 / 888.435.6104 (TTY). For more information about HHF, please visit hhf.org. A full list of resources is available here https://hhf.org/blogs/a-guide-for-preparing-for-emergencies-when-you-have-hearing-loss
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