National Fire Prevention Week

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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It’s National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is focusing on Safety for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.

The National Fire Protection Agency states that homes with smoke detectors like these reduce the risk of dying in a house fire by 55 percent. But for individuals with hearing impairment, an audible smoke alarm may not alert them to a potential danger around them. The focus of 2021′s National Fire Prevention Week is on individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is meant to educate the public on equipment that can alert a hearing impaired person in the event of a fire.

“What we’re used to is a smoke alarm on a ceiling or on the wall just making a sound. Where hard of hearing people obviously have difficulties with that, they do make smoke alarms that do the same thing, that do alarm with a horn, but they also have lights on them, a strobe light of some sort, so that these people can actually see that as well.” - Mike Divito – Firefighter/Paramedic, Caribou FD

According to the National Institute of Health, one in eight people in the United States, approximately 13 percent of the population aged 12 or older has some form of hearing loss in both ears, and while strobing fire alarms can go a long way to alerting someone to a fire emergency, the difficulty comes to alerting a hearing impaired person to fire danger while they are asleep.

“So they make bedside clocks that are also a regular alarm clock, but they pick up the sound so when they do hear a smoke alarm that is in another room or in the room of that person, that bedroom, it picks up the sound of that frequency and then it also is connected to a little vibrating pad that you can put under a bed, so that would shake the bed of that person who is hard of hearing.”, says Divito

Fire officials say on top of ensuring that your home has the proper equipment, a plan should be developed on what to do if there is a fire. Have an outside meeting place to make sure everyone gets out safely and call 911 from a mobile phone or a trusted neighbor’s phone.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

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