In light of all the recent natural disasters threatening the safety of citizens all across the United States, it has become more important than ever to have an emergency plan in place. It is also vital to account for hearing loss in that plan — figuring out how to make sure you have your hearing device and having a backup communication plan if you are unable to retrieve your hearing aids in time.
First of all, the more information you have the safer you will be. There are email and text alert systems for upcoming weather events and other emergencies. Find an alert system that works for you and spread the word amongst your family and loved ones to create your own network. The people in your network will stay in touch during an emergency — have a meeting point, keep a spare key that your network knows about, and share the location of emergency supplies once you have them. Your network needs to be familiarized with your hearing loss and devices so they can be helpful in a time of need.
Communication is key. In an emergency your usual ways of communicating may not be available so there are a few things you can do to prepare. Use social media to stay in touch — Facebook, Twitter or any other social site can let your friends and loved ones know you are safe. Also, if you are having trouble communicating to someone do not forget to use all your resources. Communicating through smart phones can bridge the gap you need in an emergency situation — typing out messages can be extremely useful if someone is especially hard to understand. There are also personal safety apps that show your emergency contacts and details about your hearing loss/device on your phone’s lock screen which makes it visible without having to enter in a password.
Last but not least prepare an emergency supply kit. It is wise to prepare two — one for your home and one portable kit in case you need to evacuate. You should include copies of important documents (insurance cards, photo IDs, emergency contact information, medical lists, etc.) and they should be kept in a waterproof container. Always pack a flashlight with extra batteries, a whistle so you can be easily heard, first aid supplies, and spare batteries in a waterproof container for your hearing devices.
It may be scary to think about an emergency plan, but preparation is the best defense if anything bad happens. In this case it is certainly better to be safe than sorry! At Valley Hearing Center we hope you will never need to put your plan in to action, but when your safety is paramount it is vital to have a plan!
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