Deaf and Hard of Hearing

ear with sound wavesIt is important for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to have a plan to ensure that a disaster does not impact their day to day care.   Consider your daily activities and think about how a disaster will impact your life.  Take into consideration what you do independently and where you may need assistance.  Keep in mind that your regular sources of assistance may not be available after a disaster. Plan now for how you will meet your needs.  

 

Hearing Aids

  • Store hearing aid (s) in a strategic, consistent and secured location so they can be found and used after a disaster.  For example, consider storing them in a container by your bedside, which is attached to a nightstand or bedpost using a string or Velcro. Missing or damaged hearing aids will be difficult to replace or fix immediately after a major disaster. 
  • If available put an extra hearing aid in your emergency supply kit

Batteries

  • Store extra batteries for hearing aids and implants
  • Maintain TTY batteries
  • Store extra batteries for your TTY and light phone signaler

Communication

  • Have more than one method to receive warnings and evacuation information.
  • Determine how you will communicate with emergency personnel if there is no interpreter or if you don't have your hearing aids. Store paper and pens for this purpose.
  • Consider carrying a pre-printed copy of important messages with you, such as:
    • "I speak American Sign Language (ASL) and need an interpreter"
    • "I do not write or read English"
    • "If you make announcements, I will need to have them written or signed"
  • If possible, obtain a battery-operated television that has a decoder chip for access to signed or captioned emergency reports.
  • Determine which broadcasting systems will be accessible in terms of continuous news that can be captioned and/or signed. Advocate so that television stations have a plan to secure emergency interpreters for on-camera emergency duty.

Alarms

  • Install both audible alarms and visual smoke alarms. At least one should be battery operated.

Advocacy

  • Recruit interpreters to be Red Cross emergency volunteers.
  • Maintain advocacy for TV stations to broadcast all news and emergency information in open caption format.
  • When you travel, ensure hotels have services for deaf and hearing-impaired persons, including audible alarms.  Ask for them when you check in.

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Information provided by Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco