Cleveland Fire Brigade is helping deaf and hard of hearing communities this Deaf Awareness Week (May 2-8) to ensure they have effective smoke alarms.

Cleveland told FIRE that an estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm because of hearing difficulties or removal of a hearing aid at night. As part of the UK Council on Deafness' Deaf Awareness Week, the brigade is reminding its residents of the importance of fitting and testing appropriate smoke alarms to alert them to a fire in their home.

A whole range of alarms designed specifically for the hard of hearing, from strobe lighting and vibrating alarms to small wearable radio linked pagers can save lives, alerting residents to a fire in the home even if an individual has taken their hearing aid out 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.

Les Jones, Head of Community Safety 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 they work.

"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 blaze, and without it lives could be lost.

"Anyone in doubt about the alarm they need should contact us for a free Home Fire Safety Visit. We are here to help make sure your home is as fire safe as possible and have staff who can sign in British sign language if needed."

For more information please contact Les Jones on 01429 874012


Posted: 09.55am, 04.05.11