This summer’s violent storms in the East and out-of-control wildfires in the West, after a winter that included a deadly freak snowstorm in Texas, are reminders that emergency preparation is important, especially for people with hearing loss.
Your hearing aid is not going to do you any good without batteries, rechargeable or replaceable. Your cochlear implant is useless without both the earpiece and the headpiece and the charger for batteries. Your assistive devices won’t work without power.
Devices should be charged and ready to go. I also recommend pads and pens for communication, in case your devices are lost or run out of power.
Even if you’re not deaf or hard of hearing, emergency preparedness is important. This week in the New York metropolitan area we saw how quickly and devastatingly danger can arise, when the remnants of Hurricane Ida resulted, at last count, in 47 deaths. The same is true with fires – you may feel safe one moment and need to evacuate the next. Everyone should have a “go bag” at hand. All of this is true as well for an emergency in your own home: a fire or gas leak or other disaster. Have everything you’ll need ready for a quick exit. And have an emergency contact list for getting in touch once you’ve left.
Flashlight: In addition to hearing instruments, make sure you have a working flashlight. The batteries last longer if they’re not in the flashlight. Have spares. I have a rechargeable flashlight, the Bolder by Anker. It holds the charge for a long time and is quickly recharged with any USB power cord. You can buy them on the Anker website or online at Amazon ($29.99) and elsewhere.
Medication. As with your hearing equipment, keep medications in one easily accessed place, ready to put into your go bag.
Mobile phone and chargers. Again, keep your phone and charger in one reliable place so you’re not running all over the house looking for phone or charger. Remember that your car probably has a power outlet that will allow recharging.
Power Bank: I consider a power bank or portable charger an essential component in a go-bag. Wirecutter recommends another Anker product: the Anker PowerCore Fusion 111 PIQ 3.0. It’s $39.99 on the Anker site as well as at Amazon and electronics stores.
Your wallet and ID. Maybe it’s time to get rid of all those store receipts and other unnecessaries in your wallet, so you’ll easily be able to find what you need, including your driver’s license.
I’ve written several times about emergency preparedness. It’s a perennial issue for everyone, but especially for the deaf and hard of hearing. This post, Emergency Preparedness for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, includes links to other helpful sites in planning for an emergency.
My last piece of advice is to sign up for emergency alerts issued by your city or community. In New York City, Notify NYC alerts include not just dangerous weather alerts but also power outages, public transit delays and other useful information.
For more about living with hearing loss, read my books “Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better With Hearing Loss” and “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I and 50 Million Other Americans Can’t Hear You.” Both are available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.com.