The Department of Homeland Security has implemented a five-step Homeland Security Advisory System. This system is designed to create a uniform response at all levels of federal, state and local government depending on the current threat level status.
Massachusetts closely follows this system. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is responsible for emergency management and preparedness within the Commonwealth. Click on the colored threat status indicator to go to a page which explains to you what enhanced safety and security procedures you might encounter at state offices.
For Deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened individuals, most of the guidelines and tips contained in the various documents and links on the above sites will apply just as they do to persons who are not Deaf and who do not have a hearing loss. However, there are some facts worth noting:
- Anyone who is dependent on a TTY for phone calls should be sure to test to see if the rechargeable batteries included with their TTY still work. If they do not, buy a spare set of NiCad rechargeable or regular Alkaline batteries matching those in your TTY. Since TTY's require a power source to operate, losing electricity and not having backup batteries could leave you without a way to communicate. - The same is true for cordless telephones, which require power to keep the base station working.
- A battery - powered radio will be of limited use to someone who cannot hear. You may be better off investing in a small, portable Television set and a DC to AC power inverter, which will allow you to run the TV from any 12V power outlet in your car ( some TV's may run directly on 12 Volts DC but may be too small to display legible text or captioning ). Power inverters can be bought by mail order or at selected large electronic and general retailers. If you are dependent on captioning, your set should be equipped with closed caption capability. All sets over 13 inches include this, and some sets smaller than 13 inches also may feature it. Be sure that the wattage of your portable TV does not exceed the rated maximum wattage on the inverter.
- Alphanumeric pagers with text messaging offer a relatively economical and power-independent way of being kept abreast of the latest information. Many news service bureaus offer free subscription to "Breaking News" or "Emergency" bulletins. Additionally, by outfitting members of your family with these messaging devices, you can stay in touch and communicate with one another even if the emergency prevents you from being together.
- Cell Phones can be very convenient, but not all cell phones work with hearing aids or TTY's, so be sure to test for compatibility before you buy. If you plan to use a cell phone with your TTY, go to our Selected Catalog Vendor page to find contact information for entities selling these TTY's. For mobile applications, it is especially important that you have the appropriate adapters/fresh batteries to power both the cell phone and the TTY, and to carry a spare set of hearing aid batteries as well.
MCDHH is committed to providing, to the maximum extent possible, continued interpreter referral services in the event of an emergency.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.