19 May 2014

As part of Deaf Awareness Week (19–25 May), Northamptonshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service is reminding anyone who is deaf and hard of hearing to ensure they have effective smoke alarms in place.

Wide range of smoke alarms

An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm because of hearing difficulties or removal of their hearing aid at night so it's important that anyone who has hearing loss have the right smoke alarms fitted and tested 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 alarms 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.

Residents should look for British Standard BS5446-3:2005 (which was amended in 2007) which details the specification for 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.

Baz Fox, Community Protection Manager says, “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 alarm in place. A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house blaze. Without it, lives could be lost.

“Anyone unsure about the alarm they need should contact Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service for a Home Fire Safety Check. We are here to help make sure your home is as fire safe as possible.”

Home fire safety checks

Home fire safety checks offer people the opportunity to get invaluable advice from their local fire and rescue service about planning escape routes, positioning alarms and ensuring that the correct, working smoke alarm is fitted in your home.

For more information please visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/fire