Most of us are used to identifying a fire alarm by the harsh, high-pitched sound it emits. However, what are your options for becoming alerted to the danger of a fire if you are deaf or hard-of-hearing? While the sound of a fire alarm may seem intolerable to us, even those with a mild hearing loss may take much longer to become aware of it. In this article, we take a look at what alternative options are available to the deaf and hard-of-hearing when it comes to fire safety, in order to ensure that everyone can evacuate safely and in a timely manner.
Specialized smoke alarms are those that go beyond the mostly audible traditional smoke alarm. There are several types of specialized smoke alarms available, including fire alarm strobe lights, vibration notification appliances and mixed pitch alarms.
Koorsen Fire & Security explains more on how fire alarm strobe lights work for those who cannot rely on auditory signals:
“Fire alarm strobes are flashing lights that are built into systems specifically designed for the hard-of-hearing and deaf community. These lights should be tested by a third-party testing laboratory to ensure that they possess the intensity to wake sleeping individuals. When the fire alarm is triggered, in addition to sounding an alarm, the strobe lights will begin flashing as well. It should be noted, however, that according to NFPA research studies, older individuals were unlikely to waken in response to the fire alarm strobes. Thus, it is recommended that strobe lights be used in combination with other devices such as vibrating appliances and/or mixed-pitch alarms.”
Whether you belong to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community or you are able to rely on the auditory sounds of traditional smoke alarms, having fire extinguishers and fire blankets in your home is still an absolute must. Most small fires can be eliminated by fire extinguishers before they progress to a much larger and potentially fatal accident, deeming it necessary that everyone in the household is trained to operate one.
Relay South Dakota tells us more on why having fire extinguishers in the home is an important part of fire protection:
“Having personal fire extinguishers on each level of your home is smart. Though most house fires start in kitchens, having multiple extinguishers can eliminate any problems reaching one because of a fire. Make sure you checked each pressure gauge monthly and documented your findings. A complete fire extinguisher breakdown and internal inspection should be done every six years.”
If you are part of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and are unsure of what you would do in the event of a fire, it’s important that you reach out to a local professional for help. There is nothing worse than living in fear that if an accident occured, you would have no idea how you would be alerted to it or how you would take care of it. There are plenty of resources available out there in order to ensure that you are safe in the event of an emergency, including contacting your local fire station.
Polk County Fire District tells us why you should contact your local fire station for more information if you have special needs such as a hearing loss:
“Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency telephone number (use appropriate amplified phone or TTY devices if necessary) and explain your special needs. Your local fire department may be able to help you with your home fire escape plan and may also be able to perform a home safety inspection. The fire department may also offer suggestions about what type of smoke alarms will work for you and where you can get them. They also will explain correct placement.”
Fire-Alert takes pride in equipping homeowners, commercial businesses and government buildings with all necessary fire safety devices to ensure the well-being of families and employees across the nation. Reach out to us using our contact form to find out more.