8th May 2012
Firefighters in West Sussex are reaching out to the deaf and hard of hearing communities during National Deaf Awareness Week (7-13 May) to ensure they have effective smoke alarms.
An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm because of hearing difficulties or removal of their hearing aid at night. As part of the Action on Hearing Loss' Deaf Awareness Week this week, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding residents of the importance of fitting and testing appropriate smoke alarms to alert people who suffer from hearing loss to a fire in their homes.
A range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, including an under-pillow pad that vibrates when the smoke detector is activated. These specialist alarms can save lives, alerting people to a fire in their home even if they remove their hearing aid at night.
British Standard BS5446-3:2005 specifies smoke alarm kits for deaf and hard of hearing people. Products made to this standard give deaf people assurance of quality smoke alarms designed to meet their needs.
Where appropriate, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service can also fit radio-linked smoke alarms connected to 24-hour operator-monitored centre, which is automatically alerted should the smoke alarm go off, ensuring that a 999 call is placed to the Fire Service.
Safer Communities Deputy Manager, Adrian Carter, said:
"It is vital that people who are deaf or hard of hearing ensure they have the right smoke alarm technology in their home to protect them - and that they test them weekly, to make sure they work. A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house fire. Without it, lives could be lost.
"Anyone in doubt about the alarm they need can contact the Safer Communities team. You may be eligible for a free Home Fire Safety Check where we can advise you on planning an escape route, positioning alarms and, of course, ensure that the correct working smoke alarm is fitted. We are here to help make sure your home is as fire safe as possible - call us on 01243 642879."
Date: 22nd May 2013