Fire safety makes itself heard during Deaf Awareness Week

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service reach out to deaf and hard of hearing communities during Deaf Awareness Week to ensure they have effective smoke alarms. 

Deafness and hearing loss affects more than 1 in 6 people in the UK and they may be unable to hear noise based smoke alarms at night. So as part of Deaf Awareness Week, NFRS is reminding residents across Northumberland to make sure they fit and test the right smoke alarms for those who suffer from hearing loss in their homes.

A whole range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, with features ranging from strobe lighting and vibrating pads which can be placed under a pillow at night to small wearable radio linked pagers. 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, 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.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service 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 regularly, to make sure they work.

“Many people with hearing loss could be at serious risk if they don’t have the right alarms in place. Specialist alarm systems provide valuable time to escape from a house fire. Without it, lives could be lost.”

Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service said: “We ask residents who are hard of hearing, or residents who know someone who is hard of hearing, to ensure they have the correct smoke alarm fitted in their home. Taking the time now to ensure your smoke alarm is working and fit for purpose can save you and your loved ones valuable time in the unfortunate event of a fire.” 
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