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Deaf Awareness Week: Be safe and sound

4th May 2009

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is teaming up with the RNID – the national charity for deaf and hard of hearing people - during Deaf Awareness Week (4th to 10th May 2009) to raise awareness of special smoke alarm systems, which in the event of a fire, could save the life of a person with hearing loss.

Most domestic fires happening during the night. With an estimated one million adults in the UK unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm on account of deafness or removal of a hearing aid at night (RNID estimate 2006), North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) is urging people to check they have the right smoke detection system for their needs.

Conventional smoke alarms work by emitting a loud noise when smoke is detected, giving a vital early warning of fire and aiding escape. People who are deaf or hard of hearing need additional ways of making them aware the alarm has been activated, including vibrating pads and flashing strobe lights.

Deaf Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity for those who know anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing, to make sure they have alarms that meet their needs. You can contact NYFRS on 01609 788545 or visit www.northyorksfire.gov.uk to book a Home Fire Risk Check. A trained fire crew can visit your home to give fire safety advice and fit a smoke alarm that meets your needs.

For further information about BSI standard smoke alarms for deaf and hard of hearing people, please contact RNID Products on telephone 0870 789 8855, textphone 01733 238020 or visit www.rnidshop.com.

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.

For information on deafness and hearing loss please contact RNID on 0808 808 0123 or textphone 0808 808 9000 or visit www.rnid.org.uk. Anyone who has doubts about their hearing can take action by taking the RNID’s five minute hearing check by telephoning 0845 600 5555 or visiting their website.

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