Weather safety information for the deaf and hearing impaired

We’re all familiar with the alarm that goes off on our phone, television, or radio when severe weather is near.

But what if you couldn’t hear that alarm? This is a challenge faced by many people with hearing disabilities.

What You Need To Know

  • The hearing-impaired community can face challenges when it comes to weather safety
  • You can alter a NOAA weather radio to fit your needs
  • Make sure to have certain items in your safety kit to ease communication

Fortunately, there are ways for people with hearing disabilities to receive life-saving weather notifications. There are also other precautions you can take to prepare for severe weather.

NOAA Weather Radio

You might think that a NOAA weather radio only alerts you with a loud screech, but did you know other features are available?

Not only does it have a loud alarm, but it also has a vibrating function. You can place this radio under your pillow to wake you if severe weather is possible in your area overnight.

Text readouts are also a feature on a NOAA weather radio.

You can also add special adaptors to some models. These include colorized warning lights to indicate the level of alert and a liquid crystal display readout of specific warnings.

When the NWS issues a watch or warning in your area, the lights will flash, which can be helpful during the day or when you’re sleeping.

When thunder roars, go indoors

The NWS dubbed the saying unrelatable to the hearing-impaired community, so they came up with a new slogan. See a flash, dash inside.

Remember to find an enclosed shelter when you see a flash or feel a rumble of thunder. Open structures with a room, such as a picnic shelter or porch, are not sufficient protection from lightning.


Preparing a safety kit

The basic necessities in a safety kit are typically a flashlight, batteries, sleeping bags, extra water, etc., but some of these items can be handy in different ways.

  • Flashlight: To read lips or for a sign language interpreter
  • Batteries: For flashlights, hearing aids, or cochlear implants
  • Communication Cards: To help explain basic needs, especially to medical personnel
  • Pen and Paper: To communicate with people who do not know sign language
  • List of Emergency Contact Numbers: To quicken communication with others
  • Sealed Container: To protect your electronics, especially hearing aids and cochlear implants

Make sure to prepare this safety kit before the bad weather strikes.