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Monday, July 15, 2013
Will you wake up if your smoke alarm goes off during the night after you have removed your hearing aids?
STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA – Solutions 2013 Smoke Alarm Projecthas an answer. The Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) has received a $205,132 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). OkAT is a partner with Oklahoma ABLE Tech and Fire Protection Publications at Oklahoma State University to implement Solutions 2013. Oklahoma ABLE Tech is a federally funded program to assist persons with disabilities to increase access to, provision of, and funding for assistive technology. Fire Protection Publications is the largest provider of firefighter training materials and curricula in North America.
Nancy Trench, Assistant Director, Fire Protection Publications, said, “Oklahoma has more home fire deaths than most other states. Working smoke alarms are the best way to prevent home fire deaths. People who are deaf or who are hard of hearing are especially at risk. They cannot hear standard home smoke alarms.”
Solutions 2013 will accept and approve applications from people who are deaf or hard of hearing; install free smoke alarms that meet the unique needs of these individuals; plan a home fire drill specific to each home; and assist with a home safety survey to prevent fires, burns, falls, and other common home injuries. People of all ages with a documented hearing impairment (deaf or hard of hearing), who live in Canadian, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, Lincoln, Cleveland, Pottawatomie, Payne, Creek, Okmulgee, Wagoner, Tulsa, Pawnee, Osage, Rogers, and Washington counties are eligible to apply to have free smoke alarms and alert equipment installed in their home.
Solutions 2013 will install smoke detection and alert equipment that uses the latest technology for alerting people to a fire who are deaf or hard of hearing. The equipment will use a bed shaker, a very loud low frequency bedside alert signal, and in some homes, a strobe light to waken and alert people to a fire. The Lifetone HL150 is an alert device invented in Oklahoma that will be installed as part of this program.
Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs for the Department of Wellness, noted, "It is important to provide life-saving assistive technologies, such as these smoke alarms, and alert devices to people who are deaf or hard of hearing so that they are in control of their own safety."
These organizations have a long history of saving lives through their past smoke alarm and alert device installation and educational projects. Most recently, they have been notified of two “saves” in Tulsa during the last six months. One involved a cooking fire by visiting grandchildren in a retirement village. A few months later, another save occurred when project equipment awakened a consumer to a fire in the furnace of her mobile home at 2:30 a.m. The consumer credited the equipment to saving her life because it awakened her and she had time to evacuate.
For more Solutions 2013 information and an application for free smoke alarms and alert equipment, please contact Oklahoma ABLE Tech at (405) 744-9748 or (888) 885-5588 or visit their website at www.okabletech.okstate.edu.