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National Preparedness Month, which is observed every September and is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, serves as a timely warning that natural and artificial disasters can strike at any time. Preparing ahead of time for an emergency scenario is critical for ensuring that you have the essential supplies, know where to go, and how to keep yourself safe in the event of an emergency.
But it’s not just about 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.
Here are a few ideas for stocking your emergency bag in case of an unexpected disaster.
Sign up for emergency alert systems
Most emergency alerts are now transmitted via text message, which is, fortunately, a hearing loss-friendly means of communication. Some systems are installed automatically on your smartphone, while others require your permission.
Make sure you’re signed up for any federal, state, and county emergency alert systems that apply to you and that they’re all sent to you by text message. Visit https://www.ready.gov/alerts for a list of national alert systems and to sign up.
Have a backup to your hearing aids
Include an additional form of communication with your standard emergency kit goods (such as protein bars, water, first aid supplies, and copies of crucial documents) if your hearing aids are left behind, or the batteries expire.
Personal Sound Amplification Devices are excellent backup options since they are readily available, generally inexpensive, and work to enhance all sounds on an even plane. These items are helpful in a hurry and should be included in your emergency kit if at all possible.
Better yet, if you’ve upgraded your hearing aids, consider keeping your old ones in your emergency box, along with the necessary batteries. If your hearing loss is more severe, keep a pen and paper on hand for written communication if all else fails.
Don’t forget batteries
This one is straightforward, but it is frequently neglected or forgotten. Hearing aid wearers should maintain a month’s worth of hearing aid batteries in their emergency kits, according to the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF). In inclement weather, a waterproof container is also necessary to keep your batteries, or spare hearing aids dry.
Get to grips with your technology
If your hearing aids have at-coil, make sure you spend a few minutes learning how to use them. This could mean the difference between hearing emergency instructions, understanding what they mean, and being in the dark. Another helpful resource is something you can keep right at home. In the event of an emergency, consider acquiring visual fire alarms with strobe illumination.
Use the buddy system
In the event of a calamity, have 2-3 persons in state and one person out of state check in on you and make sure you are safe. If you reside in a city, you can also contact the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to find out what types of emergency alerts or systems are available to help people with hearing loss.
Write down your emergency contacts
Make an emergency contact list and keep it in your emergency kit. This should include medical contacts such as your doctor, pharmacy, and, of course, your hearing specialist, as well as your hearing aid manufacturer’s emergency support and repair number.
Remember to include your health insurance provider and membership details, such as plan name and number. In an emergency, having these phone numbers on hand will save you a lot of stress.
Make a list of your health requirements
A list of your medical and health needs, such as information on allergies or other chronic problems, should be included in your emergency bag. Make a list of any drugs you’re taking, as well as the dosages you take daily. Include your blood type and any other medical information you believe would be helpful in an emergency. You’ll have a complete list to keep you safe if you’re having problems hearing or communicating with someone.
Our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by the recent disasters we’ve seen this summer. If you need help preparing your hearing aids for emergency weather, contact us today!