Firefighters are reaching out to deaf and hard of hearing communities in West Sussex and urging them to check they have effective smoke alarms.
The plea comes from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service during the run-up to Deaf Awareness Week, which starts on Monday (May 4th).
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 range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, including an under-pillow pad that vibrates when the smoke detector is activated. 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 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.
Where appropriate, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service can also fit specialist smoke alarms linked to a 24-hour operator-monitored centre, ensuring that potentially life threatening fires are detected at the earliest possible opportunity.
Deputy Safer Communities Manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Adrian Carter, said: “We know there are a number of people in West Sussex who can’t hear or respond to an ordinary smoke alarm. It is vital that those people have the right smoke alarm technology in their home to protect them and give them that valuable time to escape from a house fire.
“Some people wrongly assume that the equipment will be expensive but West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service doesn’t charge for Home Fire Safety Checks or any of the detection equipment we fit. We always prioritise those who may be a higher risk of injury from fire.
“Anyone unsure about the alarm they need or who would like to request a Home Fire Safety Check can contact our Community Fire Safety team. We can advise you on planning an escape route, positioning alarms and, of course, ensure that the correct working smoke alarm is fitted. We are here to help make sure your home is as fire safe as possible.”
To find out if you are eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check call 0845 872 9719 or go to the Home Fire Safety Check page.