Emergency situations happen. To stay safe during severe weather, natural disaster or other emergency it is important to be prepared.
State, local and federal governments are required to present emergency information in multiple formats that everyone can access, regardless of their communication needs. This includes accessible alert formats, broadcasts with ASL interpretation, captioning, posting accessible transcripts for online access, text messaging, email alerts and other options.
Home emergency alerting devices, or signalers, are also helpful. You may notice that many emergency preparedness lists recommend a NOAA Weather Radio, even to people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. While most weather alert radios are not useful to people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing, there are some that show text alerts with the type of emergency. Weather alert radios can be connected to a vibrating or flashing light alert as well.
For more information on how you can prepare for an emergency, watch these videos from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
Did you know that you can text 911 in an emergency? People who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing may text 911 or call 911 using their preferred form of phone communication (including voice, TTY, video relay, caption relay, or real-time text). If you do text 911 in an emergency, be aware that 911 dispatchers will ask you if they can call you. Dispatchers prefer calls because the technology is faster and more reliable, and they can listen to environmental sounds. You may tell them you are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing, but you are not required to disclose that.
Learn more about texting 911
If you experience barriers when texting 911, first do whatever is needed to take care of your emergency. When the emergency is over, save your text conversation. Then, contact us and describe the barrier you encountered, the date and time it happened, and where you were when you texted 911.