Sunday, September 06, 2009

Free smoke alarms for hearing impaired

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Good news. Bad news.

The good news, 94 percent of all U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. The bad news, 6 percent of homes without a smoke alarm account for 77 percent of all annual fire deaths.

Simply having a smoke alarm in the home is not enough — it needs to be a working smoke alarm. When smoke alarms don’t work, it is usually because the batteries are missing, disconnected, dead, or the alarm is malfunctioning.

Test your alarms monthly, replace the batteries annually, and if your alarms are 10 years old or older, replace them.

Smoke alarms, are your signal for life. But what happens when you can’t hear that warning signal? Smoke alarms save lives. But for those who are hard of hearing or deaf, they cannot rely on a standard alarm to alert them. Most fatal fires happen while we sleep, and because smoke can put you into a deeper sleep, it’s important to have that early warning to ensure you wake up and get out.

Specialty alarms are available for the hearing impaired and disabled. These alarms may employ a strobe light or vibrate to shake bedding.

Loaner for Life program

Recently through available grant money, we have acquired a limited supply of strobe smoke alarms to loan to residents of Payson with hearing disabilities. These alarms emit a bright strobe warning to alert occupants of a potential emergency. These alarms are loaned to the resident and maintained on an annual basis by the department, at no cost to the owner.

If you or someone you know has a hearing disability and could benefit from a strobe smoke alarm, contact the Payson Fire Department at (928) 474-5242 ext. 300, for further information on the application process.

The department also has for distribution, standard smoke alarms to be given and installed to those with a need.

Until next time, be “Fired Up” for smoke alarm safety in your home.

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