Hurricane Irma shook the Southwest Florida community. The storm caused so much damage and destruction to families and individuals. Yes, we are still feeling Irma’s effects. Many are still without power, and we continue to boil water and experience food and gas shortages. However, as these aspects of daily life improve, we look back on the events of the past three weeks. And we recognize the ways in which Hurricane Irma has drawn our community together.
Dial A Decibel
At Decibels Audiology and Hearing Aid Center, we often joke that there are really no hearing aid emergencies. However, Hurricane Irma taught us that emergency situations occur when patients are not able to hear valuable information about the storm itself and conditions following the storm. (It’s also important — during a storm — to be able to hear and respond quickly when your significant other asks you where you hid the good snacks.) As such, we deployed our staff members to serve our patients in the community, delivering batteries, repairing devices, and checking in on patients.
The Dial a Decibel program began on Monday, September 11. Any available Decibel employee responded to the needs of our patients. Many of us were tired after the stress of the storm, but we realized that patients were stressed also. What could we do to get to work immediately in our community? To lend aid to our fellow Southwest Floridians?
The Decibels Respond to Hurricane Irma
Michael “Buzzy” Ellis, Decibels Audiology and Hearing Aid Center’s resident super hero, served as a first (and rapid) responder to patients after the storm. An avid beach-goer, exercise buff, amateur interior designer, foodie, dog rescuer, and former hardware store manager, Buzzy donned his theoretical super hero cape to go out and help patients beginning the day after the hurricane. “It was rough. I was so worried about gas; the lines for the gas stations were blocks long! I got to see people helping each other, but it was sad to see all the downed trees. It was hotter than I could imagine, as I kept my car’s A/C off to conserve gas. I was more worried about Buddy (my dog) and keeping him cool.” Day after day, Buzzy has worked tirelessly to meet others’ needs in spite of the buckets of sweat pouring from his body.
Dr. Brittany Gates commented, “When Irma began her wrath on my home town [Naples], I was scared. But as the storm cleared, I have never been more proud to be a Decibel. With no power and limited fuel, my colleagues volunteered their time to visit our patients in their homes. People needed to hear to stay safe, listen to emergency warnings, and communicate with their families. Hurricane Irma brought reports of lost and damaged hearing aids, no power for rechargeable hearing aids, and — my personal favorite — a mistakenly snacked-on hearing aid.”
Thankfully, our office and the surrounding area suffered minimal damage. Like many others, the beautiful landscaping required significant work. However, we are back up and running and ready to serve our patients. Do you need anything? Want to be a part of the Decibels family? Give us a call! Or stop by to experience the gloriously cold A/C, a hot cup of coffee made with bottled water, and a fresh cookie baked by a positive and encouraging Decibel. Joy, smiles and laughter await those who walk through our doors! We are “hear” to help! (Get it?!)