FIREFIGHTERS are reaching out to deaf and hard of hearing communities and urging them to check they have effective smoke alarms.
The plea comes from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service during Deaf Awareness Week, which started on Monday.
An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm, either because of hearing difficulties or because they remove their hearing aids at night.
A range of alarms have been designed specifically for the hard of hearing, including an under-pillow pad that vibrates when the smoke detector is activated.
These specialist alarms can save lives, alerting people to a fire in their home even if they remove their hearing aid at night.
Deputy safer communities manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Adrian Carter, said: “We know there are a number of people in West Sussex who can’t hear or respond to an ordinary smoke alarm.
“It is vital that those people have the right smoke alarm technology in their home to protect them and give them that valuable time to escape from a house fire.”
Where appropriate, officers can also fit specialist smoke alarms linked to a 24-hour operator-monitored centre.