Hearing Impaired Smoke Detectors

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

It's a first for the Circle City: the Dothan Fire Department has teamed up with the Institute for the Deaf and the Blind to make sure those with hearing impairments have fire protection in their homes.

We all are all familiar with the sound of a smoke detector. Now, hearing impaired individuals can have the same tool. New detectors are now available in the Dothan area, which have been specially designed to alert hearing impaired individuals of fire dangers in their homes.

The Dothan Fire Department applied for and received a federal homeland security grant allowing them to purchase the expensive devices and install them in homes around the county.

"The importance is paramount. [There is] nothing more important than protecting lives and that's what this does,” says Chris Etheredge of the Dothan Fire Department.

One in 10 people in the Wiregrass suffer from some type of hearing loss and in 2003 there was only one device available. Now, with the help of the Dothan Fire Department, people have a safer, more effective option.

Arne Foss just had one of the detectors installed in his home. Not long ago he was staying in Birmingham when the residence caught on fire. Had others not been in the home he wouldn't have known to evacuate.

He is thankful for the device and is able to sleep more comfortably at night, knowing the higher pitched sound and flashing light will get his attention in case of a fire.

The hearing impaired smoke detectors cost around $150 dollars a piece. The Institute for the Deaf and the Blind is seeking funding to provide other surrounding counties with the same free opportunities as are available in Dothan.

If you would like to have one of the hearing-impaired smoke detectors in your home you may contact Jennifer Fanning with the Institute for the Deaf and the Blind at 677-6270.


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