Deaf Awareness Week

Firefighters in East Sussex are urging people who suffer from hearing loss and their loved ones to check that they have effective smoke alarms.

Hearing-loss-and-smoke-alarThe plea from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service comes in the run-up to Deaf Awareness Week which starts on Monday (4th May).

An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm, either because of hearing difficulties or because they remove their hearing aids at night.

A number of alarms have been designed specifically for people who are hard of hearing, with features ranging from strobe lighting and vibrating alarms to small wearable radio-linked pagers.

A whole range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, with features ranging from strobe lighting and vibrating alarms to small wearable radio linked pagers.

British Standard BS5446-3:2005, which was amended in 2007, 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.

Steve Wright from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety team said:

Most people associate smoke alarms with a beep – but technology has really advanced in the last few years. There are all sorts of products available for those who suffer from hearing loss.  A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house blaze.

We can carry out home safety visits for vulnerable people who may be worried about how to protect themselves from fire.  We know that factors such as a lack of mobility, drug or alcohol use, dementia or smoking, can increase the risks of fire.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service works with a number of partners to identify those who need this type of specialist equipment.  Referrals are made to our Home Safety Visit team who will visit the property to assess the needs of the occupier, and where deemed necessary, install specialist alarms.

East Sussex County Council provides a range of services for people who have hearing or sight problems and who find it difficult to do daily tasks in the home.  Phone: 0345 6080191 or go to www.eastsussex.gov.uk.

How many smoke alarms do you have?

Latest fire statistics reveal that one smoke alarm may not be enough to provide you with the best chance of escaping a fire in the home.  Despite the majority of homes (88%) having at least one working smoke alarm in their home, smoke alarms alerted householders to a fire in England in only a third of cases.  The most common reason a smoke alarm failed to activate was because the fire was outside its range.

Steve Wright added:

You should make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, preferably in hallways and landings.  And placing smoke detectors near to sleeping areas and in rooms where there are electrical appliances could give you the extra warning you need.

Top tips

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.Install Smoke Alarms
  • The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or on a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting additional alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances and near sleeping areas
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

If you or someone you know may need extra support please visit East Sussex Fire and Rescues website or phone them on 0800 177 7069.

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