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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety

DSDHH assists people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind in preparing for severe weather and other catastrophic emergencies. DSDHH also assists emergency response agencies, law enforcement, governmental agencies and community organizations in developing and maintaining systems of communication to ensure alerting, response information and services are accessible to all Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people.

What Services Are Provided?

In addition to outreach, presentations and workshops, and information, we can help you get weather alert radios and driver communication cards.

Weather Alert Radios

image of weather emergency radio with pillow shaker and strobe light

Weather Alert Radios are specially-adapted weather radios equipped with a pillow shaker and strobe light. They are designed to alert North Carolina’s Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind to severe weather events and other emergencies. These radios are programmed specifically to a person’s area of residency to assure that only the localized weather alerts are announced and not those from other regions of the state. The radio also has an optional antenna for regions of the state where radio signals often are difficult to receive as in the western regions.

The weather radio is available by application to any person living in North Carolina who has a documented hearing loss. DSDHH will provide one weather alert radio per household with at least one Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind resident at the address. DSDHH staff will assist in the set-up of the weather alert radio if requested. There is no charge for the equipment or services provided.

Driver Communication Cards

image of driver communication card

The Driver Communication Card is thin and lightweight and designed to fit over the sun visor. Whenever a Deaf or Hard of Hearing driver encounters a law enforcement officer, such as during a traffic stop, the driver could pull the card out to let the officer know that he or she is deaf or hard of hearing. The card alerts the officer to communicate appropriately with the deaf or hard of hearing driver and helps to ensure everyone’s safety. State and local law enforcement officers throughout North Carolina are trained to recognize the cards and understand their purpose.

The Driver Communication card is available to North Carolina licensed drivers who have a hearing loss. There is no cost for this service.

Qualified drivers may apply for a Driver Communication Card at one of the seven Regional Centers.

Who is Eligible?

All individuals who have hearing loss, their family members, agencies and organizations that serve them and individuals interested in learning about emergency preparedness issues for all people with hearing loss, may ask for our services. There is no charge for services.

How to Apply/Contacts

For more information on emergency preparedness, contact one of the seven Regional Centers.

Your Rights

Your rights

How can I find other resources?

Contact one of these state and national resources for more information on emergency preparedness resources.

Brochures and Fact Sheets Ready NC Connect NC