Supporting Deaf Awareness Week

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting Deaf Awareness Week (4-10 May) by highlighting to people who are deaf or hard of hearing the importance of having the right smoke alarms in their homes, to keep them safe.

Smoke alarms save lives and give people valuable time to escape from house fires.

A whole range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, with features ranging from strobe lighting and vibrating alarms. These specialist alarms can save lives, alerting residents to a fire in their home even if they remove their hearing aid at night.

Deaf people can place a vibrating pad under their mattress or pillow at night. If smoke is detected, the alarm will sound and set off the pad and a strobe light will flash to assist in waking them.

An emergencySMS service has also been developed so people who cannot make voice calls can contact 999 by text from a mobile phone. Since September 2009 the emergencySMS service has successfully handled hundreds of real emergency calls.

Head of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention department, Nick Evans, said: “It is vital that people who are deaf or hard of hearing are still able to contact the emergency services and have the right technology in their homes to protect them.

“You can get help and advice about the most appropriate equipment for you to use via our website. Ordinarily we also can offer those who are deaf or hard of hearing a home safety visit, which gives them the opportunity to get invaluable advice about their smoke alarms and planning an escape route.

“If anyone knows someone who is deaf or hard of hearing I would urge you to ensure they are aware of the help and support available to them.”

For more information on smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard or hearing click here.

To register for the emergencySMS system, text ‘register’ to 999 and follow the instructions sent back.

The service was developed by The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, BT, Cable & Wireless, the Department of Communities and

Local Government, OFCOM, the UK emergency Services and all mobile operators. For more information, visit www.emergencysms.org.uk. Information on the website is also in British Sign Language

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