September 15, 2019. Last month a blog posting on preparing for an emergency when you have hearing loss seemed timely, given the experience we recently had on Prince Edward Island with post-tropical storm Dorian. (See Are You Prepared For An Emergency?)
What was your experience? Did you make use of any of the tips? At our home the storm gave us a wild ride! We were lucky that the only damage we had was tree and branch damage.
Having been through an earthquake, numerous power failures, civil unrest, and several years as an education officer in an emergency management college, I considered us well prepared….and we were. However, the storm brought out a few additional tips to consider in preparing for future emergencies after we were left with no phone, no electricity, and no internet!
We had no phone, no electricity, and no internet!
We listened to the radio (battery-powered, of course) and it was disheartening at the number of references by earnest radio hosts, urging people to ‘go to this web page to find out what’s open or closed in your area, or where to go to an emergency shelter’. It was almost the only default response, even though people were phoning in on cell phones asking questions because…. they had no internet or electricity! Very difficult to look something up on the internet when you don’t have it! So, here are a few more tips:
Internet service may not be accessible!
Don’t depend only on the internet for information. If the power and/or internet are out, you need alternate ways to get information. If you have phone service, you can try calling a radio station for information. Alternatively, call someone outside of the affected area and ask if they can look up the information you need on the internet and then call you back. Include the phone numbers of the radio station and someone who lives in a different area than you in your emergency plan, so you have them handy. One friend told me she never bothered getting a battery-powered radio as she assumed she could access the internet to get all the information she needed. She explained how unnerving it was to not know what was going on after her cell phone connection was lost. In the commotion, she had forgotten that there was a radio in her car.
Arrange for someone to check that you are OK.
Pre-arrange to have someone to check up on you. This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? If you have an extended family in the area who can visit to make sure you are OK, then perhaps it is. Many of us don’t, and either have no family in the nearby area or no family members. If something happens, who is going to see if you are all right? In your emergency plan preparations, pre-arrange for a friend or family member to contact you in the event of an emergency or disaster, and ensure that person knows who to call in case you don’t answer. Most likely, this could be a neighbour who might not mind taking a look if asked. If your friend or family member lives in the same area as you, and might be in the same emergency or disaster situation as you, consider asking a second friend or family member to also contact you. After our internet service was working again, we found emails from numerous friends that we didn’t even realize were aware of the storm hitting the Island, asking if we were all right.
You will be tired and under stress!
Recognize that you will be stressed and tired. We were lucky not to have major damage or injuries, so we were surprised at how tired we felt after the storm was over and we had made the necessary arrangements for the yard cleanup and removal of the downed trees. We all are aware that when we are stressed and tired we can’t concentrate as well as we normally can. A diminished level of concentration means we don’t comprehend what we are hearing as well as we do normally. Take time to rest and recognize that your concentration levels will recover once you are no longer stressed or tired.
Can you add to the tips in the previous posting and this one? Send an email to email@example.com or comment on this blog. You can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI
© Daria Valkenburg
September meeting: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speakers: Patsy Beattie-Huggan, Community Engagement Consultant, will give an overview of the new 211 Information Service provided by the United Way. Brenda Porter will lead a discussion entitled “Our Stories Matter: Helping Others to Understand….An informal, mini-workshop on sharing our own voices.” Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg will introduce you to some of the Tinnitus Relaxation Therapy techniques they learned this summer.
Fall Speech Reading Classes: Level I will run Tuesday afternoons, from 2 to 4 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, with popular speech reading instructor Nancy MacPhee, and will run for 10 weeks. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register. What will you learn? Level 1 introduces the most visible spoken consonants, as well as thematic groups, such as colours and numbers. Students practice with phrases in class groups as well as with the instructor. General info on hearing loss, as well as coping and communication strategies, are covered. Speech reading takes lots of patience and practice, but it’s also fun!