Alternative fire detectors crucial for those with hearing disabilities

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Smoke detectors play a huge role when it comes to detecting a fire while sleeping but people who have trouble hearing cannot depend on them the same way.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Senior Director of Public Education, Andrea Vastis said one in eight people throughout the United States suffer from hearing loss. 

Vastis said whether you are deaf or not, hearing tends to weaken as we age.

While fire safety should be one of the biggest components in our day-to-day lifestyle, Vastis said a lot of people do not know about the additional smoke detector equipment that is available for people with hearing disabilities.

“There are strobe light alarms that can be installed so that during the waking hours you have a visual signal if a smoke alarm goes off,” she said.

In addition to strobe light alarms, Vastis said there are bedside alerts that have a combination of a flashing light.

“It might speak and say fire, fire and will shake your bed or pillow,” she said.

Vastis encourages those who are heavy sleepers or are taking sleeping medication to have a bedside alert system that will help warn in case of a fire.

The NFPA encourages every home to have proper fire detection equipment installed.

Vastis said there are a variety of detectors, strobe lights, and bedside alerts that are available at any local hardware store. 

For those who cannot afford proper fire safety equipment or need help installing, Vastis encourages them to reach out to one’s local fire department. 

“You can always call your local fire department or your local fire marshal because they often may have an installation program,” she said.

In addition to smoke detectors, Vastis said every family should have an escape plan and a meeting place in case of a fire.

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