FIREFIGHTERS in West Sussex are reaching out to the deaf and hard of hearing during National Deaf Awareness Week to ensure they have effective smoke alarms.
The awareness week runs until Sunday, May 13.
An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm because of hearing difficulties or removing their hearing aid at night.
As part of Deaf Awareness Week, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents of the importance of fitting and testing appropriate smoke alarms.
A fire service spokeswoman said: “British Standard BS5446-3:2005 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.”
Where appropriate, firefighters can also fit radio-linked smoke alarms connected to a 24-hour operator-monitored centre.
Safer communities deputy manager, Adrian Carter, said: “It is vital 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 weekly, to make sure they work.
“A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house fire.
“Without it, lives could be lost.”
Anyone who is unsure what type of alarm they need can contact the safer communities team by calling 01243 642879.