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 Deaf Awareness Week, which runs between 7th – 13th May, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding local residents of the importance of fitting and testing appropriate smoke alarms to alert people, who suffer from hearing loss, to a fire in their home.
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. These specialist alarms can save lives, alerting residents to a fire in their home even if they remove their hearing aid at night.
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, Community Safety team manager, 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 that it works correctly.
“Many people with hearing loss could be at serious risk if they don’t have the right alarm in place. A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house fire. Without it, lives could be lost.”