If you’ve lived in Florida long, then you know that it’s always a good idea to be prepared. You never know for certain when a tropical storm or hurricane will start heading our way. Even when it’s not hurricane season, coastal storms, floods, or tornadoes could arise, taking out the power. While you can’t plan for every possible circumstance, there are probable ones.
When you prepare ahead of time for an emergency scenario, you can ensure that you have the essential supplies, know where to go, and how to keep yourself safe in the event of an emergency. For those of us who are hearing impaired there are a few more preparations to keep in mind besides having enough water and flashlights; if you use hearing aids, you’ll need to know how to keep them working in the event of a crisis so you can hear the entire time.
Here are a few recommendations to stock up within your emergency kit so you will be ready, if and when disaster strikes.
Sign up for emergency alert systems
Meteorologists continue to make enhanced weather predictions about natural disasters and what way they will come. However, they can’t always get it right. When an unexpected change occurs in the weather it’s important to be prepared. The more time you have the better. The majority of serious weather alerts are now transmitted via text message. Because you can set your phone to vibrate, this is an excellent way to be alerted of oncoming disasters without having to rely on audio alarms. Make sure you are signed up for any federal, state, and county emergency alert systems that apply to you, and opt to make sure they’re all sent to you via text message. Visit https://www.ready.gov/alerts to sign up for a list of national alert systems in your area.
Have a backup to your hearing aids
Your hearing aids are programmed to amplify the specific sounds and tones which pertain to your hearing loss. While there is no equal substitute for a custom programmed set of hearing aids, it’s a good idea to have a backup in a pinch. This could be an old pair of hearing aids that are stocked up with a backup power supply in your emergency bag. In some instances, they could be assistive listening devices. Many of these can be purchased over the counter and amplify all sound, as opposed to being fine-tuned to your particular hearing aid needs. Still, they can help you temporarily if for some reason your hearing aids are lost, or you are unable to reach them.
Don’t forget batteries
You are going to want to make sure you have enough power to support your hearing aids. For models which use replaceable batteries, make sure you have a supply stocked up in your emergency bag. For those who use rechargeable batteries, it’s a good idea to have at least one spare charger packed away just in case. Make sure to pack them in a waterproof case to keep them from corroding in the humid Florida weather.
Use the buddy system
When disaster strikes, it’s always easier when you don’t have to navigate it alone. This could not be truer for those with hearing loss. Another person with normal hearing can help you navigate the fastest way to safety. Reach out to your neighbors and make a plan now, far before any mention of a storm or other natural disaster is reported. Similarly, it’s a good idea to have 2-3 persons in state and one person out of state check in on you and make sure you are safe.
Write down your emergency contacts
Have your emergency contacts ready in your emergency bag. Don’t just rely on your cell phone in case you lose it. Often cell service goes out during extreme weather events. Emergency contacts that are helpful to have, aside from friends and support systems are your doctors, pharmacy, and, of course, your hearing specialist. If your hearing aids are lost or damaged, it’s a good idea to be able to contact them for repairs.
Address a Hearing Loss
One of the most dangerous things you can do in an emergency is a hearing-impaired person who has not addressed their hearing loss. This can make you less aware of your surroundings and more prone to accidents. If you suspect that you may have a hearing issue, don’t wait for an emergency to act. Schedule a hearing exam with us today.